Navigating Transition Finance for Agroecological Transitions in Cambodia

Sustainable agriculture
On October 11th, 2023, Swisscontact Cambodia and Chamroeun Microfinance Plc, a locally rooted microfinance institution, formalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to nurture sustainable agricultural practices and support the nation's farmers during the crucial transition to agroecological methods.

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 commercialize agroecology and regenerative agriculture practices in Cambodia. However, because agroecology is a relatively new concept in Cambodia, information on, and the commercial application of Agroecology is limited.

This partnership between Swisscontact Cambodia and Chamroeun Microfinance Plc. therefore, represents a multifaceted initiative that aims to develop specialized financial products tailored to facilitate the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.. The collaborative venture extend to the realm of micro-insurance, where they will look to design solutions to tackle the distinctive challenges posed by this transformative period.

Chamroeun Microfinance Plc., initiated in 2005 by the French NGO EdM, is a social microfinance project aimed at uplifting impoverished communities in Cambodia. Its name, meaning "progress," reflects their commitment to enhancing the lives of Cambodian families through responsible microfinance and socio-economic support.

"Together with Swisscontact, we are truly excited to create and test this innovative product at the farmer's level, aiding them in their transition to agroecological practices, fostering a more sustainable future.Will need one quote from Chamroeun. "
Mr. Yannick Milev, CEO Chamroeun Microfinance 

This endeavor directly responds to the dynamic changes in Cambodia's agricultural sector, spurred by the government's drive for modernization through innovative techniques. Addressing these challenges effectively, the MoU highlights the innovative MetKasekor model. The MetKasekor model is a product of the Department of Extension Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DEAFF). The pilot is supported by the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) – housed in Cambodia's Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD) and Swisscontact.  The MetKasekor model aims to enhance public services and establish a thriving market for conservation agricultural technologies. This model opens the market for the private sector in agricultural extension services, a factor that previously impeded the widespread adoption of sustainable farming practices and innovative technologies.

This partnership emphasizes the need for customized financial solutions to support the transition to agroecological farming. It prioritizes farmers and aims to address their various challenges through a holistic approach. Moreover, this collaboration is more than just an agreement; it's a dedication to empower farmers, strengthen resilient agricultural systems, and create a sustainable future for Cambodia.

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.