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.

Farmers need supply chain of Tarpaulin and Rovai pumps for improving their water storage and supply systems

From 30 June to 1 July 2014, Sophors, Marieke and Kirina from SNV Netherlands Development Organisation organised a field trip to Svay Rieng province. The purpose was to assess the performance of existing water storage and supply systems applied by the cooperating farmers of a previous SNV’s pilot project and to find out potential opportunities for improving supply chain of the tarpaulin and Rovai pump in the targeted communities.

Tarpaulin pond and Rovai pump - © Yim Soksophors

Tarpaulin pond and Rovai pump, Svay Rieng, Cambodia © Yim Soksophors

In the morning, we had a joyful breakfast with Mr. Sok Sotha CFAP managing director to reflect on cooperation between SNV and CFAP. According to Sotha, CFAP is now creating MFI program to provide loans to farmers / clients and at the same time, the purpose of creating this new program is to ensure its long-term sustainability if without funding support from donors. After the meeting, we headed to the targeted village, we met farmers who applied the water storage and supply systems using tarpaulin ponds and Rovai pumps in targeted villages. The farmers told us that they receive better benefit after applying the innovation. The farmers have improved water storage capacity through the preparation of the tarpaulin ponds. At the same time, the Rovai pumps helps them to reduce labour and expense on pumping water from the pond to the vegetable gardens. More water stored in the tarpaulin ponds allows them to increase from two to three cropping cycles in a year.

In the afternoon, we met two management committee members of the wind pump user groups. We discussed challenges, and appropriate solutions to ensure that the wind pumps will be functioning after the project withdrawal. It is to notice that the two wind pumps were installed by SNV’s pilot project for irrigating the dry season rice fields. The farmers see that this innovation is helpful for them because they can reduce by 50% of the total expense on diesel / gasoline for water pumping. However, there are some technical problem and management needed to be strengthened. It is important to have local repairers to fix some small technical problems of the wind pumps (such as change the rope pump, etc.).

After this field visit, some findings were shown as follows:

  • It is potential to support the local farmer associations (FA) in the project’s targeted areas to set up the supply chain of tarpaulin, Rovai pump. According to the meeting with chief of FA management committee, the FA can help to do need assessment and SNV should help to engage tarpaulin and Rovai pump suppliers to the FA.
  • SNV will officially provide the two wind pumps to under the management of the farmer associations. We expect that ownership and commitment of the FA will contribute to ensure long-term use of the wind pumps. Currently, our SNV national consult is working on the strengthening of the wind pump user groups and technical fixing of the wind pump with a service provider CDI.
  • The CSA project will make assignment agreement with different clients, including local farmer associations, commune councils, and other local stakeholders to ensure that roles of those clients / stakeholders are clearly identified.

Video documentation on water storage and supply systems in Svay Rieng Province

Under the Asia climate smart agriculture programme of SNV, Sophors and Kirina conducted a field trip to Svay Rieng province from 19-20 June 2014.

The field visit was conducted to make video documentation on the innovation of tarpaulin pond and Rovai pump in Svay Rieng province.

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Tarpaulin lining pond © Yim Soksophors

They visited 3 farmers in 2 communes (Krous and Portireach communes) to take video of their vegetable gardens, tarpaulin ponds and Rovai pumps. Additionally, they also interviewed CFAP staff, first deputy commune of Basac commune, and leader of farmer association regarding climate disaster and its impact on the agricultural production of the farmers in the communities.

Video is produced for submitting the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF). Please see the link of the video here: http://youtu.be/OcLxP09LGYk

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Rovai hand pump © Yim Soksophors

 

Cassava trial input distribution, data collection training and assignment agreement signing in Kampong Cham

From 9 to 12 June 2014, a field mission was conducted by Sophors and Kirina to Thboung Khmum district of Kampong Cham province. The main activities involved checking the condition of farmer’s field after preparation, training of farmers on data collection and going through the roles of the parties as outlined in farmers agreement forms. Finally, these farmers were to be supplied with fertiliser and either corn or white cowpea or black cowpea depending on their choice as earlier agreed in the previous meetings. More detail information is provided as follows:

  • Field assessment: Farmers have already determined their fields for the cassava trials. We found that most of the farmers have not yet planted cassava, only a farmer who can access to the underground water that already planted the cassava. Other farmers who have no access to water sources are still waiting for the rain to come. One farmer in Chong O village of Rokar Por Pram commune already planted cassava cutting stems but there was no rain about 10 days after planting, this put the planted cassava at high risk of dying if there is no rain coming soon.
  • 12 farmers were trained and have improved their understanding of data recording method. We took each farmer through crucial data to be collected in the process of monitoring crop growth. Data recording sheets were developed and provided to the farmers to record their trials. We will check and collect data from the farmers in next visits.
  • Farmer agreement forms signed: The farmers understand their roles and responsibilities as well as the roles of the SNV-CSA project in conducting the trials. We went through the farmer agreement forms and further discussed before signing.
  • Input distributed: Fertiliser and (Corn or white cowpea or black cowpea) were distributed to 12 farmers. If there is raining, the farmers can start planting soon as they already received seeds from the project.
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Explaining farmer recording form © Yim Soksophors

Next step

[i] Data collection: We will keep in touch with farmers (some field visit and more phone communication) to monitor crop performance data collection by farmers and ensure all the necessary information form the trial is picked.

Challenges

The number of the farmers to do the trials will reduced from 18 farmers to only around 10 to 12 farmers due to a) few farmers brought the cassava planting materials before the treatment conducted by the Provincial Department of Agriculture so it is good to not doing the trials, b) other farmers already planted the cassava for the trials but their planted cassava may die if no rain to come soon, and c) Due to the long drought and high temperature, some cassava planting materials dies so the planting materials is not enough for all farmers to do the trials.

Acknowledgement

We wish to sincerely thank the farmers for sacrificing their time during the meeting and also availing their farms for experimental purposes.

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