Malnutrition In Cambodia: The Hidden Problem That Costs Up To US$400 Million Annually

There are currently five million undernourished Cambodian citizens. A study released in December 2013 by the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), WFP and UNICEF reveals that malnutrition costs between US$250 million and US$400 million annually or 1.5% to 2.5% of Cambodia’s total annual Gross Domestic Product.

Edith Heines, Deputy Country Director of WFP Cambodia, sat down with us to share her thoughts on malnutrition in Cambodia.



Cambodia has achieved impressive economic growth since the mid-1990s and has made significant progress in reducing national poverty. Cambodia is ranked 138 out of 185 countries on the UNDP 2013 Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate decreased from 53.2 percent in 2004 to 20.5 percent in 2011. However, a significant portion of the population remains ‘near poor’ as they are still at high risk of falling back into poverty at the slightest income shock. Thus, the impact of losing US$0.30 a day in income would double the poverty rate to 40 percent.


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