iDE Global

Press Release: New Zealand-funded climate-smart farming pays off for Cambodians - 11 February 2022

Innovative program focuses on increasing profits for small-scale farmers

February 10, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Simon Crittle, iDE (phone: +1 720 326 1789, email:

An international development program, funded by the New Zealand government, that powers subsistence farmers in Cambodia to build resilience to climate change and lift themselves out of poverty, has shown remarkable success, according to the American NGO that implements it, International Development Enterprises (iDE).

iDE says Climate Smart Commercial Horticulture Cambodia (CSmart), a 5-year program targeting 6,000 farmers in three provinces, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey and Oddar Meanchey, in recent years helped increase the earnings of participants on average by US$1,700 a year – more than the annual income of the average Cambodian household. (In 2020, GDP per capita in Cambodia was US$1512, according to The World Bank.)

The US$5 million program aims to boost the incomes of local farmers, and strengthen their resilience to changing weather patterns, by training them to harness climate-smart technologies such as water management, soil fertility and crop diversification.

To date, CSmart has worked with more than 50 percent of its target customers. Some 33 percent of the households reached were led by women. Because women play an important role in Cambodian agriculture, CSmart directly targets women with training and other activities.

iDE Cambodia country director Kevin Robbins said CSmart was remarkable not only because it was combating climate change and poverty, but because every dollar spent on the program had generated a return on investment.

“At iDE we don’t believe in giving people handouts,” said Robbins. “Instead, this program is powering subsistence farmers, lifting them out of poverty by showing them how to transform their farms into successful small businesses.”

He said CSmart had been successful because it built entrepreneurial mindsets among farmers and market actors, and used a strong evidence-based approach to measure impact.

“By encouraging farmers to plant new, high-value crops, CSmart helps build value chains that link farmers to robust market ecosystems, significantly boosting their incomes and enhancing food security.”

He said iDE was grateful to the New Zealand government for making a long-term investment in Cambodia, which was alleviating poverty and encouraged farmers to implement climate smart technologies.

“New Zealand has entrusted iDE with the important task of building value chains that link farmers to robust market ecosystems, significantly boosting their incomes and enhancing food security across the region.”
CSmart is part of a broader program, the Cambodia Agribusiness Development Facility (CADF), being implemented by iDE, which has been running for 17 years and is also funded by New Zealand.

CADF identified market opportunities for small scale farmers, provided technical support on climate resilient technologies and safe practices of agrochemicals, and assisted with value chain and agribusiness development.

CSmart will run until late 2024 and has a long-term goal of contributing to the “stability, prosperity, resilience and security initiatives” of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

iDE Contact: Simon Crittle +1 720 326 1789

Climate-smart farming pays off

Innovative program focuses on increasing profits for small-scale farmers

By improving access to technical assistance, market information, quality inputs, and new technologies, iDE increases value-chain efficiency and competitiveness to benefit small-scale farmers.

Read more: Technical training improves incomes in Cambodia

About iDE

iDE is a non-government organization dedicated to ending poverty. Based in Denver, Colorado, our work within agriculture, sanitation, climate change resilience, and gender equality, stands out in the international development sector because we don’t simply hand out money or commodities. Instead, iDE believes in powering small-scale entrepreneurs and building robust market ecosystems that are financially competitive, resilient to changing climates, and inclusive of marginalized people. iDE has 1,300 global staff and offices in 10 developing countries.