China-Cambodia Ties: China-backed pilot project boosts rural incomes

Living conditions in this village may still be rudimentary. But they have greatly improved over the past couple of years thanks to a pilot project that is seeing China share its poverty alleviation expertise with Cambodia.

China refurbished existing homes, built new ones, provided clean water supply and toilets, and, importantly, taught villagers new skills.

SOPHAL KY Director Department of Rural Economic Development "Now China has the policy to spread the role model to other developing countries so Cambodia is, luckily, one that has got one project. We design together, we discuss a lot because it is what we can call a new model."

The project has also taught villagers how to grow vegetables, rear cattle, make liquid detergent and grow tropical oyster mushrooms.

This man has seen his monthly income double.

CHUORN KHIM Mushroom Farmer "With the income from the mushrooms, I can pay for my children's education. I recently sent one child to university which is very expensive. I have also been able to improve our house and our standard of living."

The project is helping Cambodia build on its success in raising rural incomes.

SOPHAL KY Director Dept. of Rural Economic Development "Every year there is about around one percent poverty rate decrease in Cambodia. Our policy – the government and the ministry of rural development policy – have to narrow the gap between rural and the urban through development, infrastructure, health, education and rural economies."

NEANG CHANRA Village Water Project Leader "The people of this village are really happy they were chosen for this project. It has helped them in so many ways and actively improved their lives."

Cambodia plans to scale up this pilot-project model to other parts of the country, but acknowledges it will need more foreign funding to help it do so. Rian Maelzer, CGTN, Svay Ampear, Cambodia.