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 smallholder 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 the end of the 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.

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 are limited resources including staff, materials / equipment’s and other resources at this moment. Although, the PDA is making the 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 the main focus on climate change impact on agricultural and livelihood activities of the people in rural areas. He briefly explained to 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 the situation of cassava production and market in Cambodia. After the three presentations, the participants went on 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 from each group. Representatives from each group were asked to give the 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 help 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, the 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 an effort to create a favourable policy and condition for the 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.