To fight against poverty and food insecurity, AFD is assisting the Cambodian authorities in setting up an agricultural policy and implementing a rehabilitation program for irrigation infrastructure. A climate change adaptation project.

In Cambodia, 80% of the population lives in rural and agricultural areas, where poverty is mainly concentrated. The reason is that agriculture, the main source of income, is characterized by low productivity (average yield of less than 2 tons per hectare) and that there is no diversification or intensification. Rice accounts for about 90% of farmland, but it is only produced during the wet season. 12 of the country’s 26 provinces are consequently faced with a food shortage for more than half the year. Furthermore, most of the existing irrigation infrastructure, which was built during the Khmer era, suffers from a lack of maintenance: less than half of the country’s 2,400 hydroagricultural areas are operational. The Cambodian Government is aware of the challenges of the fight against poverty and irrigation potential and is engaged in a water sector policy. The State, local authorities and users are working hand in hand for infrastructure management and maintenance.


By reducing the vulnerability of farmers to the onset of rains and impacts of climate change, Cambodia hopes to develop economically, but also to improve food security and incomes for rural populations. The project has three objectives: the implementation of the irrigation sectoral policy of the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology (MREM) by rehabilitating 11,000 hectares of small and medium-sized irrigated areas and 5,000 hectares of water courses (preks) in Kandal Province. It then involves ensuring:

  • The management, exploitation, maintenance and sustainable development of these rehabilitated areas. 
  • Support for the creation of water users’ associations (WUA), and service centers and capacity building for irrigators. 
  • The development of innovative farming practices and an improvement in rice production systems to contribute to supplying the capital, Phnom Penh, and to reducing the share of imports of agricultural products.

The project aims to:

  • Increase rice yields by 200% and the operational irrigated surface area by 3%.
  • Improve living conditions for 140,000 people and reduce the poverty rate by 30% by 2018 compared to 2010.
  • Increase the means of production, improve housing, purchase household equipment, reduce debt, develop savings and social spending. 
  • Increase the resistance of rural communities to climate change. 
  • Conserve the environment.
  • Limit the rural exodus in the area by providing employment and incomes, particularly for the young generations. 
  • Increase the availability of water resources for agricultural and domestic uses. 
  • Create local entities to represent farmers.
  • Better integrate women and disadvantaged communities into the WUA.
Project start date
Project end date
20 years
Duration of funding
20 000 000
Financing amount
Cambodian State