Cambodia marks World Food Day despite Covid-19 pandemic

In Cambodia, the poor and vulnerable households are facing severe income shocks, as most of them rely on diverse sources including on-farm activities. - PPP

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Cambodia and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Saturday (Oct 16) celebrated the World Food Day under the theme "Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life."

Aligned with containment measures of the Ministry of Health to avoid the spread of the Covid-19, the event was organised in an open space in southeastern Prey Veng province limiting participation to 50 people, the FAO said in a press statement.

Cambodian Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said the event aimed to raise awareness of the need for supporting the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

It called for action across sectors to ensure that agri-food systems delivered enough affordable, nutritious and safe food for all to lead active and healthy lives, while protecting the planet, he said.

"For Cambodia, we have food surpluses across the country, and our foods and other agricultural products left over from local consumption have been exported over the last two decades," Sakhon said at the ceremony.

The minister said the South-East Asian nation exported 5.93 million tonnes of agricultural produce during the first nine months of 2021, up 88 per cent over the same period last year.

Shipped to 68 countries and regions, the country earned gross revenue of US$3.49bil from the exports during the January-September period this year, he added.

In Cambodia, the poor and vulnerable households are facing severe income shocks, as most of them rely on diverse sources including on-farm activities, wage labor, non-agricultural activities, and national and international remittance, the statement said, adding that the Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted all of these employment opportunities.

According to "UN Covid-19 socio-economic impact assessment in Cambodia", more than half of Cambodian households have at some point had to cut back on the size and quality of meals over the period of the Covid-19 pandemic, the statement said.

"Even though Cambodia has made impressive economic progress and food security is ensured, the status of nutrition across the country and for different demographic and socio-economic groups remains uneven," said Antonio Schiavone, FAO representative in Cambodia.

"Food accessibility and dietary diversity among the rural poor, pregnant women and children under five remain a concern," he said.

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