Improving livelihoods and food security

Project description

Title: Improvement of livelihoods and food security of formerly landless and land-poor households (ILF) I and II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Cambodia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC)
Overall term: ILF I: 2014 to 2019, ILF II: 2016 to 2021



The Cambodian Government has been providing land for residential and farming purposes to landless and land-poor households in the form of Social Land Concessions (SLC). This SLC programme also offers services and infrastructure in order to improve the livelihoods of these households.

Many of the land recipients have been unable to use all their allocated land as much of it consists of partially degraded forests that have not been cleared. Thus, the land is not yet suitable for agricultural use. Moreover, most of these families belong to the poorest of the poor, and hence have little financial capacity to settle and prepare their allocated land. Thus, the livelihoods and the food security of the land recipients remain precarious, and they have very limited access to sustainable social and economic services. Furthermore, the recipient households risk losing their land rights if they fail to use their land. The GIZ projects ILF I and ILF II were initiated out of the need for further support, 


The livelihoods and food security of people who have been allocated land in the provinces of Kratie, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom have sustainably improved.



ILF I and ILF II support a total of around 7,000 households in the provinces Kratie, Tboung Khmum, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang and Kampong Thom which have received residential and agricultural land from the Cambodian Government. The projects address the neediest families by helping them to establish a livelihood from the land and improve their food security through diversification and sustainable land use. The technical support of ILF focuses on three areas: 

  • Establishing food security 
  • Securing a basis for long-term agricultural production
  • Local development. 

In each of these main areas of activity, the project advises not only the land recipients but also local authorities. The aim is to bring about improvements in planning processes, implementation and structural development.

The project encourages cooperation between all actors involved on various levels. The main partner is the Ministry for Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), but collaboration also takes place with the Ministry of Agriculture. Activities on the ground are carried out by joint working groups in the provinces and districts, chaired by the provincial governors, along with local councils and community-based groups at the village level.

The project also cooperates closely with two related projects that are implemented by GIZ in Cambodia, which are also financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Further, it collaborates with other development organisations as well as with the private sector to jointly support land recipients in contract farming activities. 



Due to the prevailing food insecurity of the new settlers, ILF provided in total 44 tonnes of rice to the families most in need. This rice distribution has been continued throughout both projects in form of “Food for Asset” programmes in cooperation with World Food Programme. Through this, farmers established households and community assets such as wells, compost pits, roads and canals in exchange for rice. 

As a support for settlement and community development, small materials such as water filters, treadle pumps, solar panels or agricultural tools were provided to the land recipients. This includes the provision of tractors as well as ambulances and transport tuk-tuks for all areas. The projects also support certain infrastructure in the villages such as roads, ponds and pumping wells. 

In terms of community development, the project has supported the establishment of a total of 167 food security groups, of which each represents approximately 15 families. These groups develop participative land use plans based on the needs of their members. At the same time, these groups function as saving groups. 

Home gardens are an important basis for an appropriate family nutrition. Hence, already 1,324 households in ILF I and 1,044 households in ILF II have diversified their homestead food production with the technical support of ILF. Further, ILF technically supports the agricultural land use so that by now, many families grow crops on their plots. In this scope, two producer groups in Kampong Thom and in Kratie currently get their land organic certified which opens new markets and thus better income opportunities.

The yearly food security survey shows that the food security situation of all families has improved significantly Nearly all interviewed households in ILF I have sufficient food during the whole year, in ILF II 82 per cent are food secure. Another big step forward for the land recipients was the granting of 1,680 land titles in the provinces Tbong Khmum, Kratie and Kampong Thom in the years 2015 and 2018, while more land titles are currently in the process.