Water storage and supply systems documented for dissemination

Mr. Yim Soksophors CSA advisor and Mr. Kirina Kitinya Junior Advisor accompanied Ms. Monica Upadhyay, CSA Communication Officer based in Nepal and Mr. Nico Hertweck, Director of Humanitarian Media who is a video producer based in Lao-PDR, on a field trip to Svay Rieng province from 24 to 26 November 2014.

The aim of the mission was to produce video documentation on CSA best practices (water storage and supply DSC_0033systems) as well as the changes of farmer practices to deal with water shortage in the drought period.

During the mission, we interviewed with vegetable farmer producers in Basak village on climate change impact, their adaptive measures especially the effectiveness of tarpaulin lining ponds to deal with the water shortage. Additionally, we interviewed with Deputy Director of PDA Svay Rieng and CFAP managing director who are the local partners about their perception / impression on the CSA intervention. PDA acknowledged that the water storage and supply systems (tarpaulin lining pond and Rovai pump) introduced by the project is appropriate for smallholder farmers because it helps farmers to store more water to be used later in the drier months.

Two video documentations developed, one for the CSA global and another one for the CSA Cambodia. We expected to share those videos with donors, partners and beneficiaries.

Community Nutrition mapping in Svay Chrum district of Svay Rieng province

In its new strategy for agriculture SNV has committed to focus on Food Security and Nutrition. Within this focus two attention areas. Sustainable Food Production and Household Nutritional Security. Under the SNV’s Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture project, a field exercise was conducted from 17 to 19 November 2014 by Yim Soksophors and Saya Marta. Two PDA staffs worked with the project team to carry out this study, included making record of the interview with various respondents and direct field observation. The purpose of the nutrition mapping were: 1) To conduct nutrition mapping in the project’s target communes, 2) To reflect on the nutrition mapping tool. Two communes (Ta Suos and Daun Sa) of Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng Province were selected for the study. Six peoples included 2 commune chiefs, 2 commune focal points responsible for women and children, 2 commune councillors responsible for agriculture were interviewed.

Commune chief presenting Daun Sa commune map during the nutrition mapping exercise

Summary findings are presented as follows: Nutrition

  • Limited food diversity is big concern among women and children;
  • Only 50% of food are self-produced from family agriculture production, this means that people need to buy another 50% of food from village food stores and district markets for their family consumption;
  • Commune health centre plays important role in providing health services to people in the commune. It is also the place where people especially women access to nutrition / health information. It is to note that more women than men access to nutrition & health information;
  • Same food are provided for children and adults, so there is no special nutritious food provided to children.

Agriculture

  • Lack of labour, limited access to irrigation / water sources and limited agriculture extension. This limits capacity of the family to produce more food for self-consumption.
  • More agricultural inputs (e.g. fertiliser, pesticide…) are used, but the yield that they get is low. For the instance, the average rice yield is 1.5t/ha to 2t/ha which is below the national average (3.3t/ha).
  • Arable land is not an issue in the studied commune. This means that farmers have arable land for their farming, 0.5 to 1 ha per household on average.

Gender

  • Commune focal points who are responsible for women and children play important role in gender and nutrition
  • Men have more power than women in decision-making in the family because they are normally the breadwinners. But there is a good trend that men and women discuss and make decision together.

 WASH

  • More than 50% of the households in the studied communes used hygiene latrines, which is higher than the average percentage at provincial level. 65% and 85% of the total household in Ta Suos and Doun Sa commune use hygiene latrines.
  • Cleaning hand is not frequently conducted. They sometimes clean their hands with water without using soaps.
  • Plastic bag is a common issues
  • Number of people who access to clean water has increased. More than 50% of the households in both studied communes should water filters.

photoqwe

Nutrition sensitive agriculture aims to maximize the impact of nutrition outcomes for the poor, while minimizing the unintended negative nutritional consequences of agricultural interventions and policies on the poor, especially women and young children. It is agriculture with a nutrition lens, and should not detract from the sector’s own goals. The agriculture sector is best placed to influence food production and the consumption of nutritious foods necessary for healthy and active lives (WB brief on Improving Nutrition through Agriculture and Rural Development, 2013).

Meeting to discuss collaboration with PDA Svay Rieng

On 14 November 2014, Sophors and Marta conducted a mission to Svay Rieng province.

Objectives of the mission:

- To discuss revision to the collaboration agreement between NSA/CSA and PDA Svay Rieng
– To introduce CSA and NSA projects to project team members nominated by PDA Director
– To prepare activity plans for CSA and NSA project implementation in November and December 2014

Participants: 5 PDA Staff (included 3 PDA staff and 2 officials from District Office of Agriculture/DoA).

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Climate Smart Agriculture team

Mr. Pin Samon, project focal point nominated by PDA Director attended a meeting with both SNV Advisors to discuss revising collaboration letter. Key points discussed were: 1) Creation of project bank account need to have three signatory persons, included PDA director, accountant, and another relevant staff, 2) Change payment schedule from every month to every three months, and 3) revise logistical rate to follow with SNV policy (SNV has different rates for provincial staff and district staff).

Followed by a meeting with the project focal point, another meeting with project team members was organized. The project team members have gained clear understanding about the CSA and NSA projects when SNV advisors provided clear and precise introduction of the projects during the meeting.  Historical background, main objectives as well as key activities and achievements have already been conducted by the projects presented by both advisors. Through the meeting, we met face-to-face with the project team members from PDA side, and it was a good meeting that more people joint the two projects. It is to recall that 2 PDA staff (one from DPA, and one from District Office of Agriculture) were nominated to involve in each SNV project.

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Nutrition team

Finally, clear work plans for project implementation in November and December were prepared during the meeting, each project team member know what he/she is going to do in November and December. 

Make Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) more Gender Sensitive

SNV has been implementing a CSA Asia project to contribute to sustainable growth in income and employment and national food security by improving the climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities in key agricultural value chains in Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao and Nepal.

10-12 September 2014, Ms. Tshering Choden gender expert from Bhutan and Mr. Adrian Enright CSA Asia project manager conducted a mission support to CSA project in Cambodia. The purpose of this mission is to assess gender related issues in the project’s areas and to make the CSA project more gender sensitive.

Meeting with vegetable producer group in Basak village, ©Sophors

Meeting with vegetable producer group in Basak village, ©Sophors

Challenges faced by the female headed households; women’s participation in decision making at the community (at village, commune, province, central levels) were gender related issues mentioned by commune councilor, village chief, farmer association leader and targeted beneficiaries during a field visit to Basak commune of Svay Chrum district, in Svay Rieng province.

Kim Saveun, leader of Basak farmer association said “No women farmers’ groups/association leaders, if yes as secretaries”.

Poorer, lower income, food shortage; physical disabilities, which puts them at a greater risk compared to the male headed households in terms of their coping mechanisms to adverse effects of climate change.

Discussing on wind pump operation ©Sophors

Discussing on wind pump use, @ Svay Rieng, Cambodia ©Sophors

The CSA project in Cambodia has carried out some interventions to address gender issues.

  1. Water pumps saving time of collecting water from the pond for women & reducing the workload for women, Ken Snor, participating farmer of CSA project said.
  2. Wind pump user groups in Kampong Chamlong commune mentioned that: wind pump saving household income previously spent on diesel purchase for running pumping machine / motor pump (household expenditure on diesel reduced by 50%).

Gender sensitisation of both women and men in decision making is important, especially since some of the local men leaders are aware of the fact that women know more than the men about home and village related issues.

SNV CSA project organises farmer’s field day to disseminate Climate Smart Agriculture practices

On September 6, 2014 SNV Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project in cooperation with Cambodian Farmer Association of Agricultural Producers (CFAP) organized a Farmer’s Field day. The field day was organized at Kenn Snor’s vegetable gardens. Snor is a participating woman farmer of CSA project who is active in adopting climate smart agricultural practices introduced by the project. Thirty five participants from different villages in Basak commune, consisted of farmers, women members of vegetable producer groups, commune chief, commune councilors, village chiefs actively exchanged knowledge and practical experience in climate smart agriculture, such as drought resilient vegetable growing techniques, pest control, water storage and supply, etc.

Commune councillor discussing about how to make vegetable frame with other participant of the farmer’s field day   © Sophors.

Commune councillor discussing about how to make vegetable frame with other participant of the farmer’s field day
© Sophors.

The field day carried out through following agenda:

  • Registration,
  • Introduction to CSA project and objective of the farmer’s field day,
  • Opening speech by commune chief,
  • Presentation on background of cooperation with the project, activities and achievement and future plan,
  • Visit vegetable gardens of the farm owner,
  • Organize reflection meeting to wrap up the field day result including good and improving points as well as planning of innovation adoption,
  • Closing remark by commune chief.

“We want the farmers to pick out the best variety of vegetables after analyzing the growth patterns, resistance to pests and droughts, and water uptake,” said POT Kimsan, a local government official from Basak commune.

Representatives from the Basak commune commended the CSA activities in the commune and assured that commune councillors and village chiefs will help spread the CSA knowledge to other communities.

Kenn Snor, a farmer from Basak village said, “Initially CSA activities such as setting up water storage and supply systems consumed more time and effort. I was doubtful that we may not produce enough vegetables to justify the use of inputs. We are now happy that our production of vegetables doubled this year. This year, the return on our investment is fivefold.”

Snor explained that improved varieties of vegetables could adapt well to climate variability as they could harvest comparable yield with less irrigation or even under drought situation. Other factors include preparation of an appropriate cropping calendar, soil and water management, etc.

It is observed that the participants interested in income and other benefits of vegetable growing. The returning income is about 5 to 6 times of production cost. For instance, the farm owner spent only 80,000 riels but she earned more than 510,000 riels only from cucumbers, this is not included family’s consumption and some cucumbers are pickled for later use. This motivates other participants to adopt vegetable growing. As a result of the farmer’s field day, the CSA practice is disseminated among farmers and local authorities. They have gained understanding of CSA project’s intervention and major accomplishment. More importantly, they commit to disseminate successful practices to other farmers in their respective communities. Video clip of the farmer’s field day is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=JuCAuEequtk

Field research on water storage and supply in vegetable production

From 5 – 7 August 2014, Sophors and Kirina conducuted a field trip to Svay Rieng province. The purpose is to identify and select potential farmers for a research on water storage and supply systems using tarpaulin ponds and Rovai pumps in vegetable production in Svay Rieng province.

The team visited 8 farmers in different villages in Svay Chrum district of Svay Rieng province. Currently, some farmers have started vegetable growing thanks to availability of rainwater. At the same time, some farmers could not plant vegetables due to waterlogging (too much rain).

Farmers said Yard long bean is tolerant to drought, easy to plant and good market price, Svay Rieng, Cambodia

According to the farmers, cucumber, green mustard, yard long bean, and pumpkin are high value crops in this season. Most of the farmers could not plant green mustard at this time due to to waterlogging, so if the farmers who have upper cultivated land they can grow vegetables very well.

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Kenn Snoar’s vegetable garden. An active woman farmer in Svay Rieng, Cambodia

As result of the trip, 8 farmers were identified and selected for the research. The CSA project team will develop data recording form and computer database systems to do data input, analysis and reporting. We will organise some field days during the growing season to provide opportunities for other farmers in the project’s targeted villages to visit and learn from the cooperating farmers. More importantly, we will organize a meeting / worshop at field level to present the findings of the research to farmers and other local stakeholders.

Validation workshop on Cassava Value Chain Analysis

On 2 July 2014, Yim Soksophors co-facilitated and participated in the workshop on cassava value chain analysis at the Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA)’s meeting hall in Kampong Cham province. There were 90 participants (18 women) attended in the workshop, included government staff, farmers, input suppliers, middlemen, processors, MFIs/banks, commune Councillors, SNV, CIAT and representatives from other NGOs. Main agenda of the workshop: Mapping of value chain actors, cassava value chain competitiveness, cassava production techniques and pest control, challenges and solutions, way forward. The objectives of the workshop were: To aware all actors and stakeholders about the cassava value chain and their roles, to share the value chain analysis, to validate the value chain analysis with actors and stakeholders especially to identify the problem and solution.

Participants in the workshop

Workshop on cassava value chain in Kampong Cham © Sophors

Summary of major information from the workshop:

  • Farmers have difficulties in accessing good quality and timely inputs particularly cassava cuttings
  • Production cost is high (e.g., fuels, electricity, transportation) so we cannot compete with the other neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Thailand.
  • Currently, labour (planting and harvesting) is equivalent to 50% of the total production cost (USD 525/ha).
  • The average yield stands at 19t/ha but it tends to decrease
  • Farmers sell 80% of fresh root cassava and 20% of dry cassava respectively with Vietnam being the often final destination.
  • Price fluctuation was causing on the entire value chain.
  • Limited market information among the value chain actors
  • High competitive in term of selling and buying prices of cassava even in the local areas
  • Limited capacity to export cassava to international markets. For example, our capacity to follow the market condition set by China. But at the same time, our neighboring country Vietnam has much better capacity to do that.

For future intervention

  • Form cassava producer groups
  • Improve market information & improve communication among value chain actors
  • Improve the cassava production practices (e.g., planting techniques, seed/ planting materials, pest control, etc.).
  • Encourage sharing of information & knowledge from farmers to farmers
  • Encourage women to participate in the cassava value chain
  • To create policy for cassava export

The workshop provided a chance for different actors in the value chain to come together and that they have seen that solutions to the issues involving value chains relies on all actors.

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