AFD renews its commitment to a sustainable and resilient rubber sector in Cambodia

Phnom Penh: On 3 September 2021. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Cambodian General Directorate of Rubber on September 3rd signed an agreement for a 1.5 million euro regional grant to anticipate the possible effects of climate change and agricultural labor scarcity on the rubber industry in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and the Philippines produce 73% of the world’s natural rubber. However, its cultivation is threatened by two major changes: global warming, which could affect its cultivation conditions, and the increasing scarcity of agricultural labor.

In response, AFD is financing the regional FORSEA project (Forecasting impacts of climate change and workforce availability on natural Rubber commodity chain in South-East Asia) with a 1.5 million euro grant to the Centre de coopération international Recherche Agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD). It will be implemented in Cambodia, in conjunction with the General Directorate of Rubber and the Rubber Research Institute of Cambodia (IRCC), but also in Thailand and Vietnam. Its objective is to contribute to the adaptation of these countries to the challenges of the sector by documenting the consequences (technical, social, and economic) of these changes and by specifying the options for adapting more effectively. These data will be shared with stakeholders in the sector at different decision-making levels.

AFD has been supporting the rubber sector in Cambodia since 1999, initially on the theme of family rubber farming, which helps support small farms. Today, this support has expanded and AFD is currently supporting a sustainable rubber production project implemented by WWF and a project to strengthen the productivity and quality of the sector with the General Directorate of Rubber. AFD hopes to continue its support for this sector in the coming years.

Ophélie Bourhis, Director of AFD Cambodia said, “We are delighted to be able to renew our support to the rubber sector in Cambodia. This project is in line with the support we have been providing in this historic sector for AFD. It is now essential to invest in climate adaptation in this key sector of activity for Cambodia, which provides income for a large part of the rural population. This project also gives us the opportunity to continue our quality collaboration with CIRAD, AFD’s long-term partner in Cambodia on projects supporting rubber systems”.

H.E. Him Aun, Director of the General Directorate of Rubber said, “In recent years, the Cambodian rubber sector has significantly developed and greatly contributed to the socio-economic development of the nation as well as to the economy of rural rubber farmers. These achievements are inseparable from the support of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which is the only development partner that has supported the rubber sector in Cambodia over the past 20 years. The General Department of Rubber is very delighted to be signing the FORSEA project today, and to continue long-standing cooperation with AFD and CIRAD towards a more resilient and sustainable rubber value chain in Cambodia”.

Dr. Eric Gohet, CIRAD’s FORSEA project coordinator said, “CIRAD has historically participated in AFD’s main actions concerning the rubber sector in Cambodia. With the FOSEA project, CIRAD is pursuing its commitment to working to improve the living conditions of rubber producers in Southeast Asia alongside AFD and national rubber research and development partners, particularly in Cambodia, and thus ensure the sustainability of the sector “.

About AFD: Agence Française de Développement (AFD) implements France’s policy on international development and solidarity. Through its financing of NGOs and the public sector, as well as its research and publications, AFD supports and accelerates transitions towards a fairer, more resilient world. It also provides training in sustainable development (at AFD Campus) and other awareness-raising activities in France.

With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are at work on more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, in 115 countries, and in regions in crisis. We strive to protect global public goods – promoting a stable climate, biodiversity, and peace, as well as gender equality, education, and healthcare. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Towards a world in common.

Source: French Embassy in Cambodia