Recognising that poverty reduction is an integral part of social reconciliation and key to maintaining political stability, the government of Cambodia declared poverty alleviation as its single most important long term goal in 1996, and the eradication of poverty as the central thrust of the Socio-Economic Development Plans (SEDP I and II).
Crops and livestock are central to achieving self-sufficient food consumption. Most government policies have focused on increasing crop production and food security, including rehabilitating selected irrigation and drainage systems and physical infrastructure, promoting fertiliser use and accelerating expansion of the cultivation of abandoned land (Vuthy & Ra, 2011).
For the livestock sector, even though it is recognised that livestock play an important role in food security and rural household economy, there is a lack of clear direction or strategy for cattle development in Cambodia. The priority issue of the government is animal health service and disease prevention and control, concentrating more on pig and chicken industries. There are some policies that address issues such as vaccination and marketing arrangements for cattle and buffalo movements between Cambodia and its neighbouring countries.
With respect to cattle policy, the primary objective of government is to ensure adequate supply of draught power for rice production to ensure food security. To this end, government imported Hariana genetics in the 1960s and Brahman genetics in the 1980s. While this policy objective was met, this was not followed by additional support to maintain the introduced breed types. For instance, except for the early years, there have been no active extension activities to help owners adapt to the higher nutritional demands of pure or crossbred Brahman.
The Government has also put the cattle industry in the prioritised list of the Governmental Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency. However the Rectangular Strategy does not contain any performance indicators or benchmarks, only vague commitments for its implementation.