The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved loans of 55 million USD to help Cambodia transform the predominantly subsistence rice sector into a commercially oriented industry, while taking care of land and water resources.

According to an ADB’s press release, the project loan will be channeled to the provinces of Battambang, Kampong Thom and Prey Veng, the largest rice producing provinces in the country, to help farmers improve crop productivity and their efficiency along the rice value chain.

Funds will also be utilised for legal and regulatory reforms to promote local seed production and distribution, strengthen agricultural land management, improve capacity of farmers’ organizations, promote contract farming, and encourage domestic trading and export of milled rice, it said.

An efficient rice value chain and increased productivity will benefit about 1 million low income rice farming households, with each expected to gain additional income of 300 USD a year by 2020, it added.

In addition to the loans, ADB will also administer loans and grants of 9.5 million USD from the ADB’s Strategic Climate Fund and a 14.6 million USD grant from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, according to the press release.-VNA