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

Participants in the workshop

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 – © 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.

Field trip to select farmers for cassava on-farm trials in Tbong Khmum district of Kampong Cham province

From 21-23 May 2014, I conducted a field trip to Roka Por Pram and Kor communes of Tbong Khmum district in Kampong Cham province identify & select farmers on the cassava on-farm trials.

Most of the farmers only apply mono-cropping in cassava production, under the CSA project of SNV, we are introducing intercropping to the cassava farmers in the areas mentioned above. Based on the result of the trials, we expect that the farmers will have learned what practices provide better results in terms of yield, income, soil fertility, etc.

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Cassava intercropping with mung bean in Tboung Khmum district of Kampong Cham province © Yim Soksophors

We organised a meeting with the interesting farmers to discuss their knowledge and experience, challenges or contraints they have encountered in the cassava production. Trial protocol was discussed during the meeting. It is to highlight that the farmers are interested to casava intercropping with cow pea, yard long bean (short height variety), and maize.

Farmers will be trained to record, analyse and making reports on the trial results. In addition, the project organise a sharing workshop among farmers, relevant agencies and other stakeholders to present the results, to prepare action plan for future dissemination and replication of the successful practices, etc.

Introduction meeting to CCCN

On 29 April 2014 Sophors and Marieke had a meeitng with Boonny, director of Save Cambodia’s Wildlife. The objective of the meeting was to know each other as well as to know more detail about the Cambodian Climate Change Network (CCCN). It is to notice that SNVis interested to become a member of this network in order to share and learn knowledge and practical experience in climate smart agriculture among the network members.

At the beginning, Marieke and Sophors introduced to Boony about SNV Netherlands Development Organization to Boony, and then Boonny provided detail background, procedure to become a member of the CCCN, as well as the management structure of CCCN – how CCCNis operated. It was really good to know that the network is opened for all who are interested to become the members. The membership fee has not been determined, it depends on the members to decide whether they need to pay for the membership fee or not.

After the meeting, we all understand each other, and are ready for the cooperation in the future. Boonny will inform secretariate of CCCN about the request of CCCN, and also will inform SNV to participate in the monthly meeting of the network. The meeting ended with fruitful result. SNV will attend the next monthly meeting of CCCN as observer. The membership application will be prepared and submited to CCCN.

SNV is currently implementing a climate smart agriculture programme in Asia (4 countries: Cambodia, BhutanNepal, and Lao-PDR. The objective of the programme is to build up resiliece of the targeted community in coping with the climate chnage impact through the practice of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA).

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (CCVA)

Under the CSA project, SNV prepared various tools for the climate change vulnerability assessment on specific crops. The tools consisted of crop phonology, timeline, seasonal calendar, stakeholder analysis, resource mapping, mobility map, livelihood profiling, etc.

From 8-10 April, 2014 SNV conducted CCVA in Basac commune of Svay Chrum district, in Svay Rieng province to assess the climate change impact on vegetable production and to under adaptive measures carried out by the farmers. The meeting also discussed future adaptation measures.

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Presentation on the result of the small group discussion © Yim Soksophors

Men and women farmers suffered different impact from the climate variation and change. Normally, men dominate women if they worked in the mixed group. The women were very active if they worked in the separated group with men. 16 farmers from 3 villages in the studied communes attended the focus group discussion; they are members of vegetable producer associations. In addition, 2 provincial staff and 1 communal staff from the Cambodian Farmer Association Federation of Agriculture Producers (CFAP) participated in the whole assessment process.

The assessment team consisted of 2 SNV advisers (Mr. Yim Soksophors and Ms. Saya Marta), they also met village chiefs, deputy village chief, commune chief and other commune councillors in separated meetings to present the CSA project and to collect additional information. Moreover, the team also met the Provincial Department of Water Resources and Meteorology (PDoWRAM) to collect rainfall, temperature and humidity data in the last 15 years for the scenario planning.
in the last 15 years for the scenario planning.

Summary of major information provided by the participants during the assessment:

■ Vegetable growing is normally started in the beginning of the raining seasons (June, July) and finished in August or September. Except, the farmers who have ponds have vegetables up to November/December. The farmers buy hybrid seed from local markets, but the quality is not really good. There is no vegetable seed producer in their community.

■ Drought happens almost every year, but only 2 major floods in the last 5 years. In 2011, flood and drought happened in the same year.

■ The farmers have noticed that heat is increasing during the last 2 years

■ Insects and diseases are the climatic associated problems and they occurred every year. The farmers use some pesticide, although more insects and diseases occurred.

■ Women and men shared similar labours in the vegetable growing, men normally involved in soil preparation and fertilizing, but women much involved in selling of harvested products.

■ To adapt to drought, some farmers dug ponds to harvest the rain water; however the water is not enough for planting vegetable in the whole dry season.

■ More people migrated from the commune to look for off-farm jobs (e.g., selling labours to work as construction workers, working for farmers in other areas inside the country, etc.) if the drought / flood happened.

■ CFAP and KADRA organizations implement their agricultural projects in the studied commune, but integration of climate smart agriculture practices into the training is very limited.

■ The farmers sell their vegetables to local markets, neighbouring families, and also supply to Svay Rieng market about 10 km from their commune.

Based on the results of the assessment, drought, flood, insects and diseases were the major climatic problems in vegetable production. For the next step, the CSA project will prepare the adaptation plan in consultation with the farmers, local authorities and other stakeholders.

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