The European Commission will provide $5 million to NGO projects that improve food security and may allocate an additional $22 million to support food production in Cambodia if the funding is approved in May, EC officials said Monday.
“The European Commission wants to support…the people that are suffering from the global crisis,” the EC’s Charge d’Affairs Rafael Dochao Moreno said in a news release.
The $5 million will be granted to projects that fight poverty and hunger in the most food-insecure provinces such as Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, Ratanakkiri and Mondolkiri, he wrote in an e-mail, adding that up to half a million people are expected to benefit from the EC Food Security program.
The EC is currently in the process of selecting the projects it will fund, Mr Dochao Moreno added.
The EC’s press and information officer Pok Poun said that the EC in Brussels would finalize a decision in mid-May to grant around $14 million to an UN agency in Cambodia to strengthen agricultural production and improve food security. Around $8 million more would be made available as well under this decision, which would be used to support NGO projects that reduce poverty and hunger, she said.
Minister of Agriculture Chan Sarun welcomed the EC support program, but added the organization had not confirmed or specified most of the aid support it would give. The minister said that if the EC decides to support the agriculture sector it should focus on improving farming techniques and rice processing and storage. “It is good if the EU helps villagers create rice mills in their community,” he said.
The minister added that Cambodia did not suffer from any food shortage as it had produced over two millions tons of surplus milled rice last year.