Farmers practicing conservation agriculture, to receive access to finance through Agriculture and Rural Development Bank

Sustainable agriculture
On January 2nd, 2023, Swisscontact signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) with an aim to increase financial access to farmers who practice conservation agriculture.

Swisscontact, through the Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture (ISA) project, and its partners namely French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), and Kansas State University (KSU) has been working to commercialise agroecology and regenerative agriculture practices in Cambodia. However, because agroecology and regenerative agriculture is a relatively new concept in Cambodia, information on, and the commercial application of Conservation Agriculture (CA) is limited.

Finance always plays an important role for farmers, hence ISA along with Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) aimed at coupling CA knowledge with financial service provision to disseminate CA information through market actors.

ARDB, established in 1998, showed interest in working with ISA on the climate resilience program, particularly green financing loan to provide smallholder farmers with access to CA loans with low interest rate. Through this collaboration, ARDB will provide CA loans to small holder farmers and promote CA with their target clients. 

"As a government policy bank, Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) is committed to support the country’s sustainable finance, particularly green finance which is in line with one of the main objectives of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s policies and those of cooperation between ARDB and Swisscontact. Adopting conservation agricultural practices by farmers does not only enhance ecological balance but also maximizes biodiversity, which drives an important shift from traditional farming to sustainable agriculture. It is envisaged that this cooperation will enable farmers to have a better access to finance at affordable cost and adopt conservation agricultural practices at both large scale and scope. "
Said H.E. Dr. Kao Thach, Royal Government Delegate in charge as CEO of ARDB 
"Swisscontact is happy to build this partnership with ARDB. Through this access to green finance, small holders’ farmers will not only be able to purchase agricultural machinery and agri-implements but will also be able to actively contribute to reducing land degradation."
Said Rajiv Pradhan, Country Director, Swisscontact

Through this Memorandum of Understanding, ARDB aims to provide credit to farmers practicing agroecology and regenerative agriculture through the  MetKasekor and other related events.

The Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture (ISA) project is financed by the Happel Foundation, the Symphasis Foundation, and the Leopold Bachmann Foundation among other donors. As part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, it is co-financed by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA).

Sustainable agriculture
Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture 
The project promotes appropriate technologies and extension services for a sustainable intensification of agricultural production leading to reduced negative impacts on the environment including an improved soil health that allows smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and income.