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Farmers Lack Information, Access to Markets: Expert

Local Cambodian farmers plant rice at a farm during the rainy season in Phlang village, May 16, 2012.

Cambodian farmers still lack access to basic agricultural information that could help them prosper, and they don’t have the right infrastructure to get their goods to market, Pan Sopheap, executive director for Farmers and Nature Net, told VOA Khmer.

Civil society plays a major role in informing and training farmers, who make up about 80 percent of the Cambodian population, he said, but more needs to be done.

“Information, technology and infrastructure are not sufficient to help our farmers to be their own bosses or to totally rely on agriculture yet,” he said.

However, he said, expanded networks from the village to national level have helped some farmers share information on best practices. They can also form savings groups, putting their money together to loan to members for lower interest rates.

“They have formed a cooperative where they work together and trade together,” he said.

Civic groups also help ensure development funds are invested in the right areas, so that farmers can benefit, he said. “Sometimes if we see something irregular and we voice our concerns, it helps put it back on track,” he said.