The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), organized the policy roundtable (PRT) on the case of maize industry in Cambodia under the project Agricultural Transformation and Market Integration in the ASEAN Region: Responding to Food Security and Inclusiveness Concerns (ATMI-ASEAN) on 11 December 2018. Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by IFPRI (lead) and by SEARCA (implementing partner), ATMI-ASEAN focused on strengthening the institutional capacities of ASEAN Member States (AMS) to develop and implement policies and sub-regional programs in support of the integration of smallholders in agriculture and food markets. Specifically, the targeted AMS were Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The PRT was the first major event of the ATMI-ASEAN project in Cambodia concerning maize or corn, Cambodia’s third-largest agricultural commodity produced, next to rice and cassava.
Moreover, the objectives of the PRT were as follows:
1. Discuss the state of food security and nutrition in Cambodia.
2. Identify the opportunities for, and challenges in agricultural trade in Cambodia.
3. Explore policy options in support of increasing the competitiveness of Cambodia in the domestic and international markets with focus on its maize industry.
4. Assess the potential role of farmers, civil societies, as well as private sectors in supporting the integration of small-scale rural producers (SSRPs) in the regional and global value chains.
The forum was an offshoot of the previous year’s national inception workshop, which yielded a wealth of knowledge and helped identify possible intervention policies. It was a good opportunity for all stakeholders to exchange, share, and analyze ideas regarding the maize industry of Cambodia. The PRT ended with a good discussion that paved the way to gathering recommendations for policies and programs that could benefit and improve the economic status of the small-scale rural producers (SSRPs) of maize.