Small farmer, big field [The Straits Times]
Angry rice farmers in the Cambodian city of Battambang blocked a major road two months ago after seeing prices fall 25 per cent since their harvest began. They were protesting over the slow pace of government support. Just over a week later, Cambodia’s government responded with an aid package of price support and new loans.
The struggles of Cambodia’s farmers are indicative of a regional problem. Asean’s smallholder farmers – 20 per cent of its entire population – face several challenges ranging from difficulties in accessing market information to an inability to buy high-quality inputs. They have not been given the priority they deserve within agricultural systems.
While steps have been taken to bring these farmers out of subsistence agriculture, new ideas are needed to ensure they remain valued members of society.
This is an excerpt from an opinion piece published in The Straits Times on December 1st, 2016 in support of the Global Institute For Tomorrow’s 2016 Cambodia Global Leaders Programme. The original article can be found here.