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AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVES AND FARMERS’ ORGANIZATIONS NEEDED FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO STRENGTHEN AND ENGAGE AGRICULTURE IN BUSINESSES TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE AND COVID-19 PANDEMIC!

Sambo Meanchey Agricultural Cooperative found in 2010 with 88 household members, 45 females. The cooperative started with the capital of 8 011 000.00 Riels about USD2003. The cooperative became a member of CFAP since 2017. The cooperative locates in Sambo village, Sopheas commune, Steung Strong district, Kampong Cham province, in 2021 the cooperative has a total member of 689 households, 391 females.

Though farmer members registered, but they still produced and sold individually at the starting time. In 2015 the cooperatives had revitalized the organization and focused on collective purchases and sales of produces from farmer members for sale companies in Phnom Penh and other traders included entertainment places with amount of 300 Kilograms of lemon grass and some multiple crops daily.

Base on experiences on collective sales and purchases have scaled up supplied amount accordingly. The cooperative focuses on 4 main products as follow: –
1. Agri credit (provide small agri credit to farmer members to expand farming practices)
2. Agri inputs sales to farmer members and vice versa
3. Supply vegetable, paddy rice, rice seed, lemon grass, lemon grass oil and fruits
4. Transportation services, and

Since 2019 onward the cooperative had increased number of lemon grass producers and is capable to supply the amount of lemon grass of 8-10 tons daily in harvest season or about 1000tons/year. Moreover, the cooperative has contracted for sales of 30 liters of lemon grass oil per month, 500tons of paddy rice and 360 tons of rice seed annually and some other businesses involved. The agricultural cooperative however has limited capital to purchase large volume of the products produced by farmer members while farmer members produced hundreds of thousand tons of agricultural products annually.

In the outbreak pandemic in 2020 till present, however the cooperative has challenges on supplying to target markets because the order amount for some companies and entertainment places was reduced which it required the cooperative to rethink and revitalize about the new ways that can overcome challenges affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

The cooperative alone is hard to sustain growth in the current difficulties affected by climate change and Covid-19 pandemic, therefore the cooperative need financial support to strengthen financial management, marketing management, processing/packaging and improvement the quality of lemon grass oil to meet a higher market demand, transportation and storage.

The cooperative wishes to collaborate with company leaders, financial institution(s) and development agencies to make effective and sustainable engagement between smallholders and traders to ensure a long-term sustainability of agriculture and rural work for the farming communities in Cambodia to ensure that the lives and livelihoods of farmers and smallholders have improved better with more resilience.