Most poor households in Cambodia depend on subsistence farming and seasonal wage-labor for their income and livelihood.
Thirty-five to forty percent of rural Cambodian households experience two to three months of insufficient food intake annually with high malnutrition rates among children under five. Sixty-five percent of Cambodian farmers are women, but women’s crop yields are typically twenty to thirty percent lower than that of men. Gender empowerment in agricultural activities can increase food production capacity and improve nutrition security of rural households. The larger yield gaps and weaker political and economic conditions makes female owned farms likely more susceptible to acquisition and dispossession. Only 18 percent of female-headed households own plots compared to 82 percent of male-headed households. As of 2015 foreigners owned about 36 percent of Cambodian agricultural land. The project team worked closely to bridge environmental and political science expertise. Novel data collection and analysis techniques were developed to evaluate gender-specific drivers of land acquisition and their effects on food security. The relationship between issues such as deforestation, gender, and land titling, may result in more or less spending on children’s health, clothing, and other basic necessities.