Contract farming could unlock value chain: experts
A visiting delegation of agricultural experts suggested that Cambodia’s struggling rice industry should develop a contract farming model that if used systematically would help confront the complicated supply chain dynamics that bog down smallholder farmers. The Global Institute for Tomorrow, a Hong Kong-based think tank, spent the last week researching strategies and interviewing farmers in Takeo and Battambang provinces to identify key challenges in the rice sector. Speaking on December 9 at Raffles Hotel, Chandran Nair, founder and CEO of GIFT, said contract farming could be a critical solution to secure farmers’ livelihoods and hoped that the group would soon launch a project to demonstrate its benefits here. “Contract farming in Cambodia could be done carefully through a pilot project, starting with smaller farmers,” he said. “But it requires that farmers trust the contract farming model that we have been developing and researching.” Nair noted that while some contract farming was currently being used in Cambodia, it often failed to address supply and value chain dynamics as well as the fluctuation of production costs. “Our group is trying to identify the key value chain problems first before contract farming can be a success,” he said, adding that as a whole, contract farmers need a guarantee that contracts are consistently enforced and farmers get adequate returns.