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Improving market engagement, postharvest management and productivity of the Cambodian and Lao PDR vegetable industries


The vegetable industries in Cambodia and Lao PDR face a number of shared challenges – low yields (7 tonnes/ha in Cambodia and 8.7 tonnes/ha in Lao PDR), poor competitiveness with regional neighbours (Thailand and Vietnam), high postharvest losses (25-40%), product that does not conform to quality and safety demands of consumers and meeting market demand during the wet season.

    Constraints to vegetable industry development include:
  • Growing conditions in the wet season are unfavourable, especially for some the high value vegetable crops
  • Small scale production with limited connectivity to market
  • Limited awareness in the value of using quality inputs eg. seeds
  • Effective management of water resource during the dry season and availability of land and drainage problems during the wet season
  • Reliance on minimal inputs in organic production systems
    Ineffective pest management programs leading to an over-reliance on chemical control – exacerbated during the wet season
  • Poor postharvest management
  • Food safety risk (pesticide and microbial) posed by fresh produce
  • Poor understanding of market opportunities – supply rather than demand driven
  • Fragmented flow of information along value chains
  • Lack of industry coordination

Project objectives

The overall objective of this project is to develop innovative production and supply chain systems that enable the vegetable industry to meet year round consumer demand for vegetables in Cambodia and Lao PDR.

            1. Analyse opportunities and evaluate interventions that enable smallholders to successfully engage with and deliver high quality safe product into local and regional markets
            2. Determine quality constraints and food safety risks (pesticide and microbial) in current production systems and develop strategies for delivering high quality safe vegetables to market
            3. Develop integrated crop management strategies (e.g. protected cropping) that enable farmers to produce and market vegetables during the late dry and wet seasons
            4. Foster communication and collaboration between government, non-government organisations and private sector vegetable industry stakeholders
Tomato trial

Video: Dr Suzie Newman, GFAR Adjunct Senior Lecturer, explains the motivations for the project

Project partners

Collaborating institutions:

                    • University of Adelaide, Australia
                    • NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australia
                    • Charles Sturt University, Australia
                    • National University of Laos, Lao PDR
                    • Horticultural Research Centre, National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, Lao PDR
                    • Clean Agricultural Development Centre, Lao PDR
                    • Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Cambodia
                    • General Directorate of Agriculture, Cambodia
                    • Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia
                    • iDE Global, Cambodia


Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR Project ASEM/2012/081), August 2014 to March 2019



GFAR researchers involved in this project:

Mr Jeremy Badgery-Parker

Miss Nikki Dumbrell

Mr Souphalack Inphonephong

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