Co-op Scheme Aims To Boost Farmers’ Profits

David Boyle | The Phnom Penh | December 19, 2012

An ambitions new agricultural development project backed by a former US diplomat is aiming to dramatically revamp the sector and bring profits back into the hands of farmers.  ichan Siv, a Cambodian with dual citizenship who spent five years serving as US ambassador to the UN, and his consultancy, Akra Group, plan to launch in early January a national farmers’ and millers’ co-operative project that will pump millions of dollars into the sector. If successful, says Sichan, Cambodia could be one of, if not the biggest producers of milled rice in the world.

For Sichan the project, called Akra Agriculture Partners, is about breaking cycles of dependency to ensure the rural poor can generate their own wealth as they restore prosperity to a once-mighty agricultural empire. “Whenever I look at history, that in the 12th century they were able to produce two or three crops a year without all this mechanised equipment – we ought to be able to do better than that 900 years later,” Sichan said...