Japanese NGO Opens Chapter

One of the largest international NGOs in Japan has set up a chapter in Cambodia, bringing with it more than 40 years of experience to provide agricultural aid to the country’s farmers.

OISCA-Cambodia, which held its inauguration ceremony Tues­day night, will focus its efforts on agricultural development, providing technical assistance to farmers to increase their productive capacity, said Charles Cheo, chairman of the Cambodian arm of the Tokyo-based agency.

The NGO plans to open a training center to improve crop management, enhance growth and in­crease coordination among farmers, Cheo said. The agency also plans to open a women’s training cen­ter and an animation center for artists, said Cheo, who is also the executive director of Forte Group, an insurance provider.

OISCA International’s mandates are to increase industrial and cultural development.

“Our motto is ‘Food First,’” Cheo said, adding that the agricultural sector is an important one to improve. “There are other industries to develop [in Cambo­dia] other than the garment in­dus­try,” he said.

Japanese Ambassador Gotaro Ogawa, who attended the ceremony, said he has been familiar with the organization since the 1970s, and was impressed by their international work.

OISCA has a “very unique guiding principal,” he said, one that emphasizes “ethics, diligence and cultural aspects.”

The government looks for ways to boost the domestic production of agricultural goods, both for export and for domestic consumption, to imported goods.

“We must consider the two,” said acting Minister of Agricul­ture Chan Tong Yves. OISCA’s technical assistance is addressing “the real need of the farmer. “We have to teach them.”

Training with better technology and sharing more advice on business and marketing will help the farmers, he said.

OISCA began in Japan in 1961 and has since spread to countries from Brazil to Bang­la­desh. The agency’s main focus is agricultural development, with strong interests in environmental sustainability, according to OISCA’s annual report for 2000.


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