Regional Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Workshop in Frangipani Hotel, Phnom Penh,

The meeting aimed to update the progress and develop CSA models that fit CSA global models. The meeting was organised with 10 CSA team members in Frangipani Hotel, Phnom Penh from 16-18th February 2015, and a field visit to Svay Rieng province conducted from 19 to 20 February 2015.

Participants of the CSA meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Participants of the CSA meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mr. Erik, SNV-Cambodia country director provided speech to open the meeting. He put main focus on development of CSA models that fit CSA models at the global level. Additionally, he added that CSA technologies much be profitable to farmers.

Below is the CSA models at the global level.

CSA model

Other key topic discussed in the meeting were case study, CSA communication, monitoring and evaluation, including theory of change (ToC), indicators for measuring outcome and resilience, and gender sensitive.

ToC is a living document and may call for adjustment where necessary and where new information is gained.

Each of the country team from Cambodia, Lao, Bhutan and Nepal presented the progress of the CSA project, theory of change, as well as supported needed in terms of business development, communication and gender integration.

The participants also discussed about role and responsibilities of the CSA team in doing the business development.

Some points to be added into the CSA intervention were soil testing, CSA needs to consider all spectra of production, cost benefit analysis, etc.

Meeting with PDA- Svay Rieng

From 1-2 February 2015, Mr. Yim Soksophors, advisor for the climate smart agriculture project of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation conducted a field trip to Svay Rieng province. The purpose of the field trip was to meet with the Provincial Department of Agriculture of Svay Rieng to present the CSA project progress and activity plan for next quarter from Jan to March 2015.

5 PDA staff, including PDA director, CSA focal point, and other relevant staff met during the meeting.

The meeting conducted at meeting hall of the PDA Svay Rieng. As result, the meeting enabled PDA director and relevant staff to keep in touch with the CSA project progress and activity plan for next quarter. During the meeting, the PDA director were happy with the achievement of the project especially the contribution of the CSA project to build-up capacity of the PDA staff related to the climate smart agriculture. At the end of the meeting, the PDA director also provided some recommendations:

  1. Concerning to the rainwater harvesting, he suggested another alternative. Using water pipes to collect rainwater to be used for irrigation. “Besides the tarpaulin lining pond, this is also another option to be considered” he said.
  1. He also suggested the CSA project team to check with General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA)’s Agriculture Tool Office to find out which water supply tools/agricultural equipment that save water.

Rain water harvesting pond

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Water harvesting pond is the key for small farmers to harvest rain water to be used later in the drier month for agricultural production. With this pond the farmers can apply at least 3 cropping cycles of vegetable production per year, which is good for them to produce food and incomes for the family. Normally, short rotation vegetable varieties are planted to reduce the use of water and to reduce vulnerability to water shortage.

This pond was supported by CFAP farmer federation to a woman vegetable farmer through its climate change adaptation project.

Field assessment, data collection and annual planning meetings in Tboung Khmum and Svay Rieng

Under the climate smart agriculture project of SNV, Sophors and Kirina conducted a field visit to Tboung Khmum and Svay Rieng province from 28 to 30 January 2015.

Purposes of the field trip:

  • To collect data/information about the cassava intercropping and water use in vegetable production, To identify and select the farmers to do research on water storage and supply systems in vegetable production in Svay Rieng province,
  • To prepare quarterly work plan with the Provincial Department of Agriculture of Svay Rieng province

Who we met:

  • 8 farmers (2 women) from Svay Rieng and 6 farmers (3 women) in Tboung Khmum
  • 2 CFAP staff
  • 2 PDA staff from Svay Rieng

Field visit Tboung Khmum

  •  The CSA project team, Sophors and Kirina, visited 6 farmers in Tboung Khmum who are involved in Cassava trial research. We noticed that despite a good portion of farmers in the area already harvested, many of the farmers involved in the trials have not harvested Cassava. The intercrops were earlier harvested. This included Cowpea and Corn. The reason advance for this late harvesting despite sliding prices was attributed to the fact most of these trial farms are close to farmer’s homes and can be harvested anytime. Additionally, because of challenges of shortage of Cassava cuttings experienced in the previous seasons.
  • The trial crops were looking healthy and on average farmers projects yields of about 20t/ha. For few farmers who have harvested, yields vary from as low as 15t/ha to max of 25t/ha.
Cassava harvested and kept for planting in next season

Cassava harvested and kept for planting in next season

  • The benefits accruing from intercropping seems not be well appreciated or understood by farmers. The key focus for them was on reduced yield on a single crop. Intercropping provides opportunities for improving household food security as the intercrop often legumes matures earlier, Improves soil health. Additionally if compared to monocrop, intercrop utilises land efficiently. These feedbacks will be considered during training manual preparation.

Field visit Svay Rieng

Visit to Svay Rieng involved three activities.

  1. Field assessment of pilot farmers who have tarpaulin ponds and Rovai pumps in 5 villages across 5 communes of Svay Chrum district. Most farmers are doing their last crop as water levels in the ponds have gone down considerably in most ponds. Often farmers reduce land size for vegetable cultivation during dry season and while others stop irrigation giving priority to aquaculture.
  1. Identification for farms for treadle pump demonstration

With the intention to increase outreach of CSA technologies, SNV and CFAP staff toured different farms to identify farms that can be used as demonstration plots. Different criteria were settled upon to be used in the selection. The farmers musts:

  1. A vegetable farmer
  2. Have enough land for demonstration
  • Stay in the village and less likely to migrate
  1. Active or willing to play an active role in the process
  2. Willing to provide labour and contribute at least 20% of the needed financial resources.
A vegetable farmer in Kampong Chamlong commune shared his experience in vegetable growing and drip irrigation system

A vegetable farmer in Kampong Chamlong commune shared his experience in vegetable growing and drip irrigation system

Meeting with farmers talking about his experience in water use in vegetable production

Meeting with farmers talking about his experience in water use in vegetable production

  1. Meeting with PDA staff

We met with Svay Rieng PDA staff for a planning meeting to discuss some of the activities planned for the first quarter of 2015.The discussion was to clarify the role of the LCB partner. We expect with frequent contact with CSA team, commencement of activities implementations. Intention to visit other relevant projects including PADDY in the area was also mentioned. This is still preliminary and will be confirmed in a later date.

  1. Preparation for CSA regional meeting field visit.

A discussion with CFAP concerning preparation for CSA regional field visits was discussed. CFAP with support from CSA Cambodia team, will liaise with other partners in the province to arrange for meetings with the regional team.

End of year workshop on Climate Smart Agriculture project

Tboung Khmum district hall, Tboung Khmum Province, Cambodia

SNV Cambodia has been undertaking Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project from the beginning of 2014 as a part of the regional CSA programme covering Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Laos PDR. The project works with small holder farmers in Svay Rieng and Tboung Khmum provinces targeting vegetable and Cassava value chains respectively. As part of knowledge and experience sharing, a workshop to mark end of first year of the project was conducted in Tboung Khmum to share experiences and lessons learnt so far while getting feedback to improve planning of the project the following year.

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Participants of the end year project workshop, Tboung Khmum district hall

The workshop was honoured by the presence of government’s agencies Tboung Khmum Provincial Department of Agriculture, Commune councils, deputy village chief, commune clerk, Input suppliers, Cassava collectors, Vigilant organisation as well as ACLEDA Bank. The workshop consisted of 39 participants (7 women or approximately 18%) (See annex I for participant list).

The opening session of the workshop was chaired by Deputy District Governor (Tboung Khmum district), Mr. Heng Piseth, Director of the Provincial Department of Agriculture (Tboung Khmum province), and Mr. Kitinya Kirina (SNV advisor). Mr. Kirina asked the audience to take advantage of the workshop make inquiries considering the broad range of participants from input suppliers to technical experts and cassava wholesalers. He also appreciated the contribution of intercropping for cassava production among smallholder farmers. Mr. Heng Piseth mentioned in his speech that PDA Tboung Khmum is new. So there is limited resources including staff, materials / equipment’s and other resources at this moment. Although, the PDA is making effort to improve agricultural extension especially for cassava farmers because majority of the farmers in the province are cassava farmers. In the opening speech, the deputy district governor put main focus on climate change impact on agricultural and livelihood activities of the people in rural areas. He briefly explained the participants what climate change is, causes and impact of climate change as well as adaptation and mitigation measure to deal with the climate change issues.

The workshop saw various presentations around cassava production and two parallel sessions (see annex ii). Mr. Yim Soksophors provided a general background on SNV Climate smart agriculture programme touching on various solutions being implemented by different countries within the projects and goals of the SNV CSA programme. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Kitinya Kirina who presented on; Findings/Key output of the CSA project. Mr. Lim Sokundarun presented about situation of cassava production and market in Cambodia. After the three presentations, the participants went on a parallel sessions where two topics were tackled a) Cassava production techniques and b) Contextual challenges in the cassava value chain. Participants were asked to go around and have a look at the findings form each group. Representatives from each group were asked to give short summary of their discussions. In the afternoon sessions, input supplier presented on input supply. The floor was then opened for a question and answer sessions at the ends of the presentations. A synthesis of the key outcomes of the presentations and discussions is included.

  • Cassava is planted in the rainfed areas so that farmers wholly rely on rainwater. So proper cassava production planning or better access to climate information would helped farmers to prepare a smart production plan in dealing with the drought. In addition, together with the intercropping practices, the farmers will be able to maintain and improve their soil for sustainable use, not only that the farmers can also produce additional food sources for family consumption and income from the application of intercropping.
  • The farmers have gained knowledge and experience through carrying out the trials (intercropping in cassava production) that introduced by the CSA project in 2014. This knowledge and experience will enable them to improve cassava production practices and adaptation to climate change in next seasons.
  • Make available good quality agricultural inputs (e.g. cassava cutting stems) is very important for farmers. Currently, the farmers rely on cassava cutting stems imported from Vietnam, however those cassava cutting stems are not good quality, and they are sometimes infected with diseases and/or pest insects.
  • Understanding on climate change concept is very necessary and important for all local stakeholders especially for the commune councils and district councils to integrate the climate change adaptation into local development plans.
  • Cassava is second important cash crops, majority of the farmers in Tboung Khmum involve in the cassava production. However, high proportion of fresh cassava produced is export to Vietnam. The Royal Government of Cambodia is making effort to create a favourable policy and condition for domestic market and export market, especially China market.
  • Further support and coordination among relevant government specialised agencies, private sectors and farmers / farmer groups are strongly needed to ensure a good cassava value chain.

The workshop session was closed out by a brief wrap up from Mr. Yim Soksophors who highlighted the key discussion points in the workshop. He also mentioned about active participation of the participants to give inputs especially during the parallel discussion and build network for future cooperation among the participants in the future. He added that key ideas for CSA project to be implemented next year were generated from the workshop. The farmers have learned and received good experience from the cassava trials (intercropping) and would help to boost productivity and resiliency of the farmers to deal with climate change impact. He also summarized what farmers going forward would be interested in and what role the government agencies and other relevant intuitions should play. Mr. You Tainghy appreciated the sharing of the participants and officially closed the workshop.

End of year workshop on Climate Smart Agriculture project

Waikor Hotel, Svay Rieng, Cambodia

SNV Cambodia has been undertaking Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project from since the beginning of 2014 as a part of the regional CSA programme covering Nepal, Bhutan, Laos PDR and Cambodia. The project works with small holder farmers in Svay Rieng and Tboung Khmum provinces targeting vegetable and Cassava value chains respectively. As part of knowledge and experience sharing, a workshop to mark end of first year of the project was conducted in Svay Rieng to share experiences and lessons learnt so far while getting feedback to improve planning of the project the following year.

DSC_0569The workshop was graced by the presence of government’s agencies Provincial Department of Agriculture, Commune councils, Vegetable Input suppliers in Nature gardens, ACAO and Kbal Koh vegetable seed station, IaW as well Micro-finance institutions/Banks. Also present was CFED with experience in gender and development. A total of 31 participants (6 women) were presented (see annex I for participant list).

The opening session of the workshop was chaired by Mr. Sok Sotheavuth, Deputy Provincial Department of Agriculture (Svay Rieng province), Mr. Kitinya Kirina (SNV advisor) and Mr. Huy Dara, manager of Ideas at Work. In the opening speech, the DPDA put into focus the challenges of climate change in the provinces within the agricultural sector especially the situation of vegetable growing in the province. He reiterated and acknowledged the efforts by SNV and other like INGOs in helping small holder farmers reduce climate risks in their production systems. He also mentioned the need to have more workshops to promote knowledge sharing and networking. Mr. Kirina sked the audience to take advantage of the workshop make inquiries considering the broad range of participants from input suppliers to technical experts and vegetable wholesalers. He also appreciated the contribution of tarpaulin ponds in water harvesting for vegetable production among small holder farmers.

The workshop saw various presentations around vegetable production and two parallel sessions (see annex ii). Mr. Kitinya Kirina gave a general background on SNV Climate smart agriculture programme touching on various solutions being implemented by different countries within the projects and goals of the SNV CSA programme. This was followed by a presentation by Mr. Yim Soksophors who presented on; Findings/Key output of the CSA project in Cambodia mainly focused on water storage and supply systems (wind pump, tarpaulin lining ponds and Rovai pump, climate change awareness campaigns, etc.). After the two presentations, the participants went on a parallel sessions where two topics were tackled a) Vegetable production techniques and b) Contextual challenges in the vegetable value chain. Participants were asked to go around and have a look at the findings form each group. Representatives from each group were asked to give short summary of their discussions, and then Mr. Seak Soly and Mr. Yim Soksophors provided synthesis results of the discussion on vegetable production and vegetable value chain in plenary. In the afternoon sessions, Mr. Saw Sanpirom from Natural gardens presented on contract farming. Mr. Bean Ratha and Ms. Soeur Somalay from ACAO presented on Input supply followed by a presentation by Mr. Soun Sinat of CFED who tackled Gender and Youth in vegetable value chain topic. The floor was then opened for a question and answer sessions at the ends of the presentations. A synopsis of the key outcomes of the presentations and discussions is included.

  • Taurpalin ponds and Rovai pumps have helped in reducing smallholder vulnerability to climate change especially during dry seasons. However from farmer’s story, this was not enough as most farmers could not do the targeted 4 cycles of production. Dry season peaks in March and April. Also during September the peak raining season, flooding of farms leaves some farmers with no option but to wait until the rains subsides. Additionally some of the water is used for domestic use and could also contribute to lack of achievement of year round production.
  • Efforts is still needed on technical aspect of vegetable production as farmers still experience challenges more with pest and disease management.
  • Though most farmers are aware of what and where inputs to buy, however some agricultural inputs are not good quality, they are still face challenges in accessing finances to acquire the input materials.
  • It was clear there was a challenge in production during peak dry season but also lies potential opportunity as vegetable wholesalers mentioned that that is the period they have lowest supply.
  • Contract farming system offers a stable option both for producers and vegetable wholesalers. The system could create more benefit if designed and packaged with technical services like training on production techniques.
  • The size of vegetable farms and the technologies promoted by SNV provides a chance to inculcate gender in the agriculture system and projects. Youths are still missing and could play a key role in the labour deficit agriculture production.
  • Participants also noted the need to have such like workshops to be more often as they get to create networks within the vegetable value chain sector and share experiences. Specifically, Mr. Huy Dara, from Ideas at Work mentioned that there should be contract farming signed between vegetable producer groups and vegetable dealers (such as natural garden) during the workshop or one week after the workshop.
  • Collaboration efforts between the government agencies and private sectors focusing on farmers were also highlighted as one of the keys to improving farmer’s resiliency to climate change. Farmers will be able to access information and advisory services for informed decision making at farm level reducing climate risks.

The workshop session was closed out by a brief wrap up from Mr. Seak Soly who highlighted the success of the workshop based on participants response and general elicited interest and networks created during the workshop. He also summarized what farmers going forward would be interested in and what role the government agencies should play. He noted that SNV has put good effort and focus on small holder farming resiliency and the technologies are ripe for up and outscaling. The process, he warned would need inputs from PDA, commune councils and other NGOs working in the Vegetable value chain. Mr. Kitinya Kirina, appreciated the sharing of the participants and officially closed the workshop.

Options for promoting water use efficiency and storage systems among small holder farmers in the face of climate change

Sunway Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

SNV multi-country Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) forms a key theme of SNVs global Agriculture program. The knowledge development aspect is crucial to help streamline and inform development of CSA solutions. In Cambodia, as part of knowledge development, a study on “Options for promoting water use efficiency and storage systems among small holder farmers in the face of climate change” was conducted to assess different water storage and distribution systems, applicability to small holder setup and dissemination. This culminated in a workshop to present the findings and get feedback for finalization of the report and also provide forum for exchange and sharing of knowledge and experiences on water storage and distribution systems among various agencies involved in implementing such systems.

The workshop brought together `representatives from Government, FAO, French Red cross, World Fish, various research institutions, CFAP. A total of 44 participants (13 women) were present (see annex I for participant list).

The opening session was chaired by Ms. Chan Phal Loeun, Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), Mr. Erik van Waveren SNV country director and Ms. Marieke van Schie SNV Agriculture sector leader. In the opening speeches, the GDA emphasis the importance adopting climate smart agricultural practices by small holder farmers. She noted the need for development agencies to work closely with government as having a resilient agriculture sector in Cambodia was a joint vision. Mr. Erik van Waveren pointed out why water management should be given key priority in an effort to come up with solutions to cushion small holder farmers and agriculture in general against impact of climate change.

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Various resource persons gave presentations after the opening ceremony (see annex ii). Mr. Yim Soksophors started the presentation session by giving a background on SNV Climate smart agriculture project: Scope behind the CSA project and why water is key issue in CSA and resilience. This was followed by the key presentation by Ms. KAUV Ly Yann on “Options for promoting water use efficiency and storage systems among small holder farmers in the face of climate change”. A presentation on “Use of tarpaulin lining pond and Rovai pump for vegetable growing and wind pump for rice seed production” was presented by Mr. Kitinya Kirina. The managing director of Akay Spice processing Dr. Balu Maliakal, presented on “Rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation systems for high value spice crop production”. Mr. Reach Sopheap from CVAD Farm shop explored “Water supply systems for Vegetable production”. Finally Mr. Patrick Renaud of French Redcross looked at “Application of research in community water management for improved agricultural production”. At the end of each presentation, participants put forth questions and made comments concerning various water storage and application systems and their suitability and related adoption costs and maintenance. The outcomes of the presentations included;

  • Suitability of technologies: Water storage and technologies presentation were suitable to boost small holder adaptation to climate change, however, the different set up may demand different technologies.
  • Initial costs: Relatively higher costs of various otherwise good technologies may asphyxiate efforts by small holder farmers to adapt them.
  • Multi-use: Most of the water storage facilities are attracting diverse use like aquiculture and unintended use mainly for domestic purposes. Multiple use approach to identify priority for farmers for proper designing of some of these technologies should be considered.
  • Communal water management: Need for and challenges experienced in communal water management options invites and should involve government agencies for sustainability.
  • Research and climate information is important for developing better informed and cheaper options based on local experience.

Towards the tail end of the workshop, participants were presented with opportunity to present their thoughts on some of questions asked earlier. The questions sort to expose some of the key points of consideration when implementing water storage and application systems, best methods to sustain and upscale pilots where adaptation technologies were initially subsidised. The role of research and information in small holder resiliency and focal areas government efforts should bridge. The participants had a round table discussion and the discussion points were presented by a representative from each group. The following were the key points;

  • Technologies that targets small holder farmers must consider costs of adoption, maintence and duration for breakeven.
  • Supply chain should be well established to increase access of technologies by farmers.
  • Water storage and application systems should be user and friendly, gender sensitive and where training is necessary, it should be affordable and accessible.
  • There is need to identify needs and priorities of the small holders before implementing water storage and supply systems.
  • Research on risks and better collection and assimilation of climate information is necessary to develop resilient systems.
  • It aids in finding out the affordable technologies for the small scale farmers
  • Priority areas: gathering info on weather systems which can guide the farmers
  • More dissemination and publications of information and collaboration is necessary to explore synergies among different organization for the benefit of the farmer.

A wrap-up session chaired by Ms. Kauv Ly Yann. The workshop was successful as the presentations elicited various comments and inquiries from participant’s evidence of interest the presentation generated. The key presentation on the study findings on water use efficiency and storage systems received positive critiques and suggestions from participants and which will be useful in enrich the study report. It was also evident that majority of the participant work with small holder farmers and were in harmony that water management for small holder agriculture constitute a large portion for small holder resiliency to climate change. The workshop was officially closed by Ms. Marieke van Schie.

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