Cambodian agriculture unlikely to absorb laid-off workers: WB hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo:

Phnom Penh (VNA)
- Cambodia’s agriculture sector is unlikely to be able to substantially absorb laid-off workers from the garment and tourism industries, according to a World Bank report.

In a report titled, “Economic Update for Cambodia in the time of COVID-19,” it notes the weak performance of the farming sector.

The bank says recent efforts to modernise the agriculture sector have intensified as Cambodia endeavours to increase productivity within its major crops.

In this regard, there are signs that the sector is slowly modernising by leveraging advanced cultivation techniques and new seeds made possible by technology diffusion via foreign direct investment, it said, adding that while it is still too early to draw conclusions, Cambodia’s exported agricultural products have slowly expanded to include new products such bananas and soon mangoes.

Meng Sakphouseth, country programme officer to Cambodia for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that the agriculture is the sector that can most easily temporarily absorb seasonal workers.

However, farming is not the first choice for many young Cambodians because they prefer to work in industry or the tourism sector.

IFAD said it is working with the Cambodian government to leverage a programmatic approach to ease the economic distress and prevent food security stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collaboration is focusing on addressing the immediate economic needs of rural communities by creating opportunities for returning migrant agricultural workers and expanding prospects for smallholder farmers through enhanced production support.

The global COVID-19 outbreak has severely affected the services sector, especially the hospitality and tourism industry, which provides 620,000 jobs and hundreds of thousands of garment workers.

According to the World Bank, at least 1.76 million jobs are currently at risk because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The collapse of the growth drivers has not only hurt economic growth but has also caused unemployment to soar to nearly 20 percent./.