The Phnom Penh Post
Written by Chun Sophal
Friday, 08 May 2009
THE National Assembly is set to approve an US$18 million agriculture lending fund requested by the government to boost farmer productivity, an official said.
Cheam Yeap, head of the National Assembly's Economy, Banking, Finance and Audit Committee, told the Post the loan package was being considered and would soon be approved, though he declined to give a timetable.
"We will examine and approve this request from the government because agriculture is the first-priority economic target for the country as it is accountable for about 30 percent of GDP," Cheam Yeap said.
The money will almost double funding earmarked by the government for agriculture this year. In December, the National Assembly set aside just $19 million for the sector in its $1.8 billion national budget package, largely for the training of ministry officials and farmers, and for research into cultivation techniques.
In a statement sent to the National Assembly on April 18, Hun Sen called for an agriculture fund to be established to help farmers maximise productivity and boost output.
Cheam Yeap said the approved money would be deposited at the Rural Development Bank to be lent to farmers to finance small-scale irrigation systems and to pay for livestock and crops.
Rural Development Bank Chairman Sun Kunthor said Wednesday that the bank would start lending money to communities and entrepreneurs as soon as the National Assembly officially approves the package.