MAFF and Partners Launch $7 mil Fisheries Project

The government and its development partners, through the Cambodia Programme for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in the Fisheries Sector (CAPFISH-Capture), launched an Investment Support Facility (ISF) project with $7 million in funds for boosting Cambodia’s fisheries sector yesterday.

The European Union (EU)-funded CAPFISH-Capture Programme and its Post-harvest Fisheries Development project, the Fisheries Administration (FiA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Credit Guarantee Corporation of Cambodia (CGCC) are joining forces to embark on and fund a groundbreaking ISF scheme aimed at catalysing growth in the post-harvest fisheries sector.

The partners released a joint statement yesterday, “With its rich fisheries resources and cultural heritage, Cambodia holds great promise for excelling in the global fish and fishery products market”.

“However, post-harvest fisheries face challenges such as inadequate fish-processing technologies, limited value-addition, and food safety concerns which are impacting consumer trust and the sector’s competitiveness on a global scale,” it said.

“Building on the success of its current Value Chain Investment Support (VCIS), the project has designed the ISF scheme to support post-harvest fisheries enterprises and their input suppliers in overcoming these challenges and enhancing productivity, product safety, and quality,” it said.

“This scheme blends co-financing from the enterprises’ own resources, guaranteed business loans distributed by the local financial institutions, and grant support from the project,” it added.

“This new scheme is supported by a fund of $7 million and targets over 100 eligible enterprises in the fisheries value chain in addition to the 50 enterprises already supported by the project,” it added.

The project launch was chaired jointly by Igor Driesmans, EU Ambassador to Cambodia, and Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel, yesterday.

Driesmans lauded the timely launch of the scheme, saying, “By harmonising with global market requirements, including those of the EU, the ISF will not only help boost competitiveness and sustainability but also underpin economic expansion, public health safeguards, and local job creation in the sector.”

“I am optimistic that the success of the ISF in this sector will inspire replication and scale up in other agricultural sub-sectors, catalysing holistic development, bringing more investment in the sector and prosperity,” the EU Ambassador added.

Acknowledging the invaluable support from the EU and UNIDO for bolstering food safety and fisheries’ sustainable development, Tina reaffirmed his commitment to further elevate the country’s fisheries sector to new levels of success.

In line with the government’s Pentagonal Strategy, the minister said that the ISF is a good initiative to support collaboration between the FiA, UNIDO, and the private sector to promote growth in the post-harvest fisheries sector in Cambodia.

“I am positive that this project, which will be implemented by the CAPFISH-Capture programme, will promote the processing of post-harvest fishery products to a higher standard and quality, as well as provide economic benefits to fishermen and processing enterprises,” he said.

Mey Vann, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and Member of the Board of Directors of the CGCC, said that the CGCC has been selected to manage the ISF scheme in partnership with commercial banks and microfinance institutions.

“The ISF plays a crucial role in enhancing Cambodia’s fishery sector. Through ISF, eligible enterprises in the post-harvest fishery sector will be able to access technical support, capacity building, and financial assistance, including grants and guaranteed loans with favourable conditions,” he said.

“The ISF will contribute to the national economic growth, modernisation, and development of the agricultural sector,” Vann noted.

Dejene Tezera, UNIDO’s Director of Agri-Business and Infrastructure Development, said that “We are proud to introduce the ISF scheme for this sector”.

“Based on UNIDO’s solid experience in innovative financing and value chain development, we firmly believe that this innovative financial model will elevate the value and quantity of safe, high-quality fishery products, enabling fish processors to thrive in global markets,” he said.

Credit to: Khmer Times, Publish on 30 May 2024