In Cambodia, where a large part of the economy is dependent on fisheries and agricultural food processing, COVID-19 has deeply impacted the industry resulting in reversing the developments related to SDG 8 of decent work and economic growth with respect to its farmer community, especially along the Mekong basin.
Cambodia’s agriculture sector is responsible for generation of more than 20% of its GDP and employs around 30% of the population.[i] Its position on the Global Food Security Index is below average at 90 out of 113 countries.
Furthermore, UNDP estimates that around 70% of Cambodia’s farms engage in subsistence agriculture by primarily taking loans and repaying them after the harvest season. There’s a wide-spread poverty in the country, with the nation coming under the low per-capita income category. After the Mekong River crisis, around 45,000 hectares of rice farms were damaged creating a debt crisis for poor farmers.[ii] Consumers on the other side of the spectrum have been hit hard by lack of food supplies, rise in prices of staple foods and a halt in income caused due to COVID-19.