Event detail

National Workshop on The Global Economic Downturn and the Food Security of Fishing Communities in Cambodia

Event detail:

Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) together with NGO partners are planning to organize a national workshop to address the below mentioned problems with fishermen and seek supports from NGOs and government agencies in addressing the problems.  This workshop will be organized by FACT and NGO partners on August 25, 2009 at CJCC Center, with fishers from three areas—Tonle Sap, Mekong and costal areas, NGOs, Government, and donor agencies. In addition, the workshop is a forum to provide chance to local fishing community representatives to express their concerns and request to the Royal Government of Cambodia to addresses their deep concern about the issues of affecting them.

Issues and Problems Facing Fishermen

The “financial crisis hits food security”, warns FAO  . The economic down turn affects Cambodia’s food security. According to CDRI (2008), “Cambodia has experienced a sudden rise in inflation, especially of essential items. The prices of all varieties of rice, the stable food crop, jumped by approximately 100% between May 2007 and May 2008. Meat prices increased by 50-70% while those of fish and vegetables became 20-30% more expensive within the same period. This raised a vital concern because the poorest 40% of the population spend 70% on food. Indeed, soaring food prices have negatively affected all walks of life. However, the extent of the impact varies according to the economic status of the people. The net food buyers tend to compare unfavourably with the net food producers. The rural poor residing in poor areas have facing the worst impact”  (CDRI, 2008:2). 

Of particular concern, the fishing communities are among those most severely affected. With the doubled rice prices, the fisher households were pushed into deeper poverty. Their average daily income has been deteriorating while the daily expenditure has to increase. Although the price of their produce has been rising, but it is only by about 20% to be accompanied by rising costs of inputs, while their fish catch has been lower due to a downward trend in catches by households” (CDRI, 2008:2).

Fish provides more than 75 percent of protein in the food diet (Degen et al., 2000; Van Zalinge et al., 2000). It has been considered as a major source of food, income and employment of many fishing communities (FACT, 2005; ADB, 2005; Amhed et al., 1998). Moreover, the fisheries resources are under threat, contributing to the decline in household fish catch, undermining the food security of fishermen, particularly in the Tonle Sap (SEI and FACT, 2008).
In the Tonle Sap, different fishing communities—floating community, stand-stilt community, and farming-fishing communities—face different types of food insecurity. The most affected communities are the floating and stand-stilt communities given the fact that they entirely depend on fishing as primary occupation while the farming-fishing communities depend on fishing as a secondary occupation. The decline in household fish catch has increased the food insecurity for floating and stand-stilt communities and many of them have found no alternatives (FACT, 2008). The decline in household fish catch poses a major threat to the livelihoods of fishing communities and to the fisheries. At the same time, the Tonle Sap, which is rich in fisheries and natural resources, has the highest percentage of the poor living there, about 38 percent of the population in Tonle Sap live below the poverty line (ADB, 2005), but in some communities in Tonle Sap Lake, the population live below the poverty line increases to about 60-70 percent (ADB, 2005). Most of them are fishermen, living on floating or stand-stilt houses in the Tonle Sap Lake, owning no farmland, but doing fishing as a major source of living (FACT, & EJF, 001).  Thus, food insecurity is a major issue in fishing communities in the Tonle Sap as well as in the Mekong and coastal communities.




  • Raise awareness about the increased food insecurity facing Cambodian fishermen under the economic down turn,
  • Promote a dialogue between Government, donors and civil society to address the food insecurity facing Cambodian fishermen,
  • Identify priority recommended actions that can be undertaken by government, civil society, and community actors to improve food security and livelihoods of fishing communities.
  • Urge the Royal Government of Cambodian to provide social and public services to support fishing communities in both inland and marine environments.




  • The key issue of food insecurity of fishermen will be raised and addressed widely by the Royal Government of Cambodia, civil society organization and funding agencies;
  • The solidarity and cooperation among fishermen will be increased in order to lobby the Royal Government of Cambodia, civil society organization and funding agencies to address their problems;
  • Provide direct recommendations to the Royal Government of Cambodia to take appropriate actions in guaranteeing fishermen access to the resources and services assuring them sustainable livelihoods.



An estimated 100 participations will be participated in this workshop. Among them, about 60 participants including NGOs and fishermen come from the coastal provinces and 100 participants from the Tonle Sap and Mekong Province. The rest will be participant from NGOs, government and funding agencies in Phnom Penh.

Source institution:

Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT)

Contributor name:

Ly Pichadaroat

Contributor e-mail:


Event venue:

at CJCC Center

Event start date:


Event end date:


Contact name: