Despite much assistance from NGOs and government over the years, many Cambodian farmers remain vulnerable to food insecurity and hunger—especially smallholders. Several factors lie behind this, but climate change is probably the main one, coupled with the incapacity of the majority to respond to it.

LO has run many projects to strengthen smallholders’ capacity to respond to natural disasters and the climate crisis. Over the past decade we put together a coalition of four NGOs to run the After The Flood project, then Project INDRA (each over two years, with 60,000 beneficiaries, across four provinces). Funding came from the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation in Hong Kong.

But we’re equally interested in niche projects. In 2019, we launched the Climate Adaptation and Water Management project for 30 disabled farmers in Battambang province. It was underwritten by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. The 30 beneficiaries were Lom Orng horticulture graduates from previous years. The project helped them to continue production during Cambodia’s frequent floods by redesigning their wells—raising them significantly above expected flood levels.


To increase their resilience to climate change, we also trained these farmers to manage their water better, and to cultivate crops better adapted to variable water availability.

This project has been successful. Among the 30 beneficiaries, 26 have access to food, clean water and some income. This project has become a showcase for other villages, some of which are copying the idea. We intend to scale this project up and introduce it to other places, so more smallholders gain food security, especially during Cambodia’s frequent natural disasters.