A $.37 million grant will fund the Community-Based Tourism Covid-19 Recovery Project in Preah Vihear and Takeo provinces. It is expected to benefit 4,000 villagers living near the Temple of Preah Vihear and the Temple of Phnom Da. Some $3 million of the funding is being provided by the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific.
The other grant, worth $3.9 million, aims to help around 22,000 smallholder rice farmers. It will provide extra funding for the Climate Resilient Rice Commercialization Sector Development Program in Battambang, Kampong, Thom and Prey Veng provinces. Most of the funding, some $3.8 million, comes from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a global fund aimed to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in low-income countries.
“The first grant will help communities improve tourism infrastructure and customer service, which can attract more tourists and boost the local economy,” said ADB Acting Country Director for Cambodia Anthony Gill. “The second grant will help Cambodia’s rice producers increase incomes and climate resilience by addressing logistics and supply chain disruptions caused by COVID-19.”
Rice is Cambodia’s major crop, accounting for 57.4 percent of the country’s agricultural GDP in 2020, according to the World Bank. Total rice production grew by only 0.5 percent in 2020.
Last year Cambodia produced more than 12.2 million tonnes of rice, 11.63 percent higher than the previous year, according to Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon.
Cambodia’s tourism sector accounted for nearly one-third of the total gross domestic product in 2019 before the Coronavirus pandemic hit. International tourism arrivals plunged from 4.81 million in 2019 to 1.25 million in 2020 and were less than 132,000 as of September last year.
Even with the end of quarantine for full-vaccinated visitors from November 15 last year Cambodia Airports reported a 33.3 percent drop in monthly arrivals at its three international airports, compared with November 2020. Arrivals fell 89.6 percent in the first 11 months of last year, compared with the same period in 2020.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.