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 e.g. seeds
  • Effective management of water resources 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.

  • Analyse opportunities and evaluate interventions that enable smallholders to successfully engage with and deliver high quality safe product into local and regional markets
  • 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
  • Develop integrated crop management strategies (e.g. protected cropping) that enable farmers to produce and market vegetables during the late dry and wet seasons
  • Foster communication and collaboration between government, non-government organisations and private sector vegetable industry stakeholders

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

Project activities

In October 2017 the project initiated the Cambodian and Lao Vegetable industry forums around the theme "Fostering a safe and sustainable vegetable sector". The events were co-sponsored by SNV-CHAIN project, GIZ, Life With Dignity and World Vision (Cambodia) and Catholic Relief Services in Laos and Korean Environment Institute (Lao PDR).

The challenges facing the vegetable sector in these countries can be addressed in many different ways, with all participants benefiting from the input and knowledge contributed by a wide range of stakeholders. There are many public, private and development partners working to improve the productivity and profitability of the vegetable sector. Bringing these stakeholders together is a way of understanding the current situation and creating potential networks to foster sustainability in the sector.


Cambodian Vegetable Forum, 20 October 2017

Lao Vegetable Forum, 26 October 2017

Forum materials:

Cambodian Vegetable Forum Handbook 2017

Presentations at Cambodian Forum:

Posters at Cambodian Forum:

Posters at Lao Forum

Project partners

Collaborating institutions:


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


GFAR researchers involved in this project:

Tagged in Projects:International development, Active projects