The agriculture sector in Cambodia is largely oriented towards subsistence and/or local trade and mostly as part of small household units. Traditional family farming systems were predominant in this country but in recent years a push for fast modernization and the increase of yields are creating aside affects on farms as productive units, farmers´ health, their local agroecosystems and on Cambodian consumers. These small crops and gathered items are fundamental to food security, considering recurrent unpredictable weather, droughts and other sources of crop loss, like nematodes, plant diseases, insects´ plagues and the storage problems, due to rats.
The recent over-use of new agrochemical inputs, like fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are improving the yields and the abundance of cheap amounts of commodities that mostly are exported to Vietnam and Thailand like fruits, rice and other vegetables are creating no expected consequences, never predicted as desirable in this country. 30 years of political problems and economic delay kept a low use of these inputs. In this transition period and due to the rush of and on farmers to use these technologies many strong perverse effects have started to be developed in an alarming dramatic stage due to the inexperienced use of these farmers, the lack of consciousness of consumers and the depriving maladministration and particularistic exploitation use of national resources as a whole.
Despite infrastructural obstacles like weaknesses in transport services and weak access to market information and the fact that working capital is already poor in rural areas during last two decades, Cambodia has moved from a net commodities importer to a net commodities exporter position. The rise of pesticide imports is explained mainly by aggressive promotions by agrochemical companies and limited farmer education on other environmentally friendly pest management options (Bhutani, S., 2013). Cambodia also faces parallel problems regarding human capacities, experience, legal framework, and facilities and mechanisms for managing chemicals and information dissemination. Some current problems include:
1) Low level of chemical awareness on the part of workers, farmers and traders, who are directly using chemical products, due to their limited education;
2) Cambodia has no clear accurate accidental data and information for accidents caused by the misuse / wrong-use of chemicals.
3) The governmental institutions do not have sufficient ability for chemicals assessment and the identification of chemicals-related problems in the production, trade, storage, use, and disposal of such chemicals.
4) Cambodia has a lack of good cooperation among laboratories and those stakeholders responsible for managing emission sources of the chemicals and persistent toxic substances.
Non-regulatory mechanisms are focusing on the voluntary actions of private sectors. This kind of mechanism are very popular among developed countries, playing a very important role in contributing to the management of chemicals with low or poor support by the governmental institutions. But the situation changes when the same projects are developed in developing countries where rent seeking attitudes have been promoted during decades, spoiling the own initiative and sense of self commitment of their civil societies towards their requirements offered by their governments. Cambodia has established regulatory mechanisms for managing chemicals. But not much endorsement of these laws have been put into action but meanwhile using cosmetic and not regulatory mechanisms, left in hands of voluntary actions, trying to create public awareness raising, environmental protection through contributions of endowment funds, and meanwhile several relevant chemicals management campaigns.