Deploying Vegetable Seed Kits to Tackle Malnutrition in Cambodia

Encouraging women to produce vegetables in home gardens can lead to improved diets and health.

Encouraging women to produce vegetables in home gardens can lead to improved diets and health.

Cambodia has achieved impressive economic growth since the mid-1990s, however a significant portion of the population remains poor and have limited access to sufficient and nutritious food. As a result, malnutrition rates in Cambodia remain high with women and children being the most vulnerable.

As of 2014 the Demographic Health Survey indicates approximately 32% of children under 5 are stunted (an improvement of 8% since 2010), 24% are underweight (improvement of 4% since 2010) and 10% are acutely malnourished (essentially unchanged since 2010). Approximately 14% of women aged between15-49 are considered underweight. With a backdrop of persistent micronutrient deficiency, especially iron, vitamin A, and iodine, there is still a major public health concern especially among children under 5 and pregnant and breast feeding women, particularly in more remote rural regions.

One of the most immediate ways to combat nutrient deficiency is by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. AVRDC in partnership with local collaborators is developing appropriate vegetable seed kits along with participatory training systems for the production of nutritious vegetables through home gardens. Significant attention will be focused on women as managers of home gardens and household diets.

Home vegetable gardens can be beneficial in a number of ways:

  • improve food security and enhance the diversity of nutritional intake in a short period of time
  • generate additional income, and provide employment
  • contribute to better health
  • help to empower women and disadvantaged groups


The objective of the project is to reduce malnutrition in USAID Feed the Future target provinces of Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom, especially of women and children, through diet diversification and by promoting the production and consumption of nutritious vegetables containing essential vitamins and micronutrients such as iron, folate and zinc, and vitamins A and C.

This will be achieved through the accelerated production and deployment of diet-enhancing vegetable seed kits in the country and the development of and training in home garden vegetable production techniques.

Others to benefit from the capacity building and increased awareness of home garden benefits include public organizations, community-based organizations (CBOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in agriculture and health in Cambodia.

The project seeks complementary partnerships to:

  • Reach over 25,000 households by 2018 through the scaling up of techniques and technologies developed and honed in year 1
  • Train up to 360 community-based trainers in home garden techniques and basic agronomy
  • Develop a sense of community ownership in villages and households for the concept of better nutrition through household gardens
  • Sustain seed supply through partnerships with CBOs and/or commercial seed companies
  • Generate high demand for locally produced vegetables through raising awareness about the benefits of good nutrition
  • Possibly derive commercial benefit in some households from the production of surplus vegetables after consumption needs have been met – the priority being that nutrition needs have been met.
Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces, Cambodia

feed the future

Project Manager:

Stuart Brown
AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center
No. 14, Group 2, Treang Village
Siem Reap, Cambodia


Ph: +855 88 625 3300

Start date: December 2015
End date: September 2018