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 the development of CSA solutions. In Cambodia, as part of knowledge development, a study on “Options for promoting water use efficiency and storage systems among smallholder farmers in the face of climate change” was conducted to assess different water storage and distribution systems, applicability to smallholder setup and dissemination. This culminated in a workshop to present the findings and get feedback for finalization of the report and also provide the 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 emphasize the importance adopting climate-smart agricultural practices by smallholder farmers. She noted the need for development agencies to work closely with a 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 smallholder farmers and agriculture in general against the 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 the 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 smallholder 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 smallholder 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 smallholder farmers to adapt them.
  • Multi-use: Most of the water storage facilities are attracting diverse use like aquaculture and unintended use mainly for domestic purposes. Multiple use approach to identify the 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 an opportunity to present their thoughts on some of the 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 subsidized. The role of research and information in smallholder resilience 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 smallholder farmers must consider costs of adoption, maintenance 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 the 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 are 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 enriching the study report. It was also evident that majority of the participant work with smallholder farmers and were in harmony that water management for smallholder agriculture constitutes a large portion for smallholder resiliency to climate change. The workshop was officially closed by Ms. Marieke van Schie.

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