Cambodia was once the leading exporter of rice on the Indochinese Peninsula and a major producer of natural rubber, thanks to the highly suitable soils and climate in part of its territory. When the war ended in 1991 it was a country in ruins and it is still being rebuilt today, receiving significant international aid. Lying at the heart of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, suffering from the impacts of climate change and very high anthropic pressure, Cambodia is particularly exposed to changes in its natural and cultivated ecosystems. In this context, it is necessary to promote the emergence of family farming that preserves its primary capital, its soil, and is resilient to climatic and economic variability; it is also necessary to strengthen the prevention and control of plant and animal diseases taking an integrated approach (One Health). CIRAD’s research is therefore mostly geared towards field studies, trials on experimental stations, immersion among small family farmers and traditional hunters, close collaboration with the university sector and substantial involvement in policy dialogue.
Young girl in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, selling lotus flower hearts. © G. Trébuil, CIRAD
Young girl in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, selling lotus flower hearts. © G. Trébuil, CIRAD

Young girl in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, selling lotus flower hearts. © G. Trébuil, CIRAD

Main research areas

  • Rebuilding sustainable agriculture: agroecology, rubber value chain
  • Developing aquaculture
  • Preparing for and managing emerging and endemic health risks
  • Protecting the environment and promoting biodiversity

In addition to the CIRAD researchers assigned to Cambodia, many support missions are carried out from France and Thailand, particularly in the fields of l’agroecology, aquaculture, emerging diseases, and for the natural rubber sector.

Key figures

  • 11 expatriate researchers
  • 25 current projects
  • 33 missions per year
  • 6 PhD students supervised

A consortium for conservation agriculture and agroecology

A framework agreement between CIRAD and the Cambodia Conservation Agriculture & Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) was recently signed (August 2022). It brings together all the relevant stakeholders, including market operators, to address soil restoration issues, improve adaptation to climate change and mitigate its effects, whilst ensuring alignment with national policies.  

One of the challenges for CIRAD and its partners is to develop the Bos Khnor research station in Kampong Cham province into a regional training centre of reference for agroecology. This station is home to the oldest conservation agriculture trials in the region, Cambodia’s first gene bank for cover crops and certain cash crops, and agricultural machinery specific to conservation agriculture.

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Cooperation et partnerships

Main partners

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF);
  • General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA);
  • Directorate General of Rubber;
  • Cambodia Rubber Research Institute (CRRI);
  • the Fisheries Administration;
  • Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC);
  • Pasteur Institute of Cambodia (IPC);
  • Royal University of Agriculture (RUA);
  • National University of Battambang (NUBB);
  • Agronomes & Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF);
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS);
  • Swisscontact (;
  • FAO Cambodia.