Promoting Safe and Environmental-Friendly Agro-based value chain in the Greater Mekong Sub Region

Every body wants good health, but wondering current food at markets are really good for health or not. Food safety become main agenda in the Mekong sub region countries as well as other parts of the world. Currently, we have Asean GAP standard that provides guidance and requirement for food safety in the Asean countries. Furthermore, it is important for the Mekong sub-region countries (Cambodia, Vietnam,  Lao, Thailand, Myanmar) to prepare a strategy on promoting safe and environmentally friendly agro based value chain for future implementation in the region.

On 9 February 2017, I participated in the national consultation workshop on Promoting Safe and Environmental-Friendly Agro-based value chain in the Greater Mekong Sub Region: Strategy and action plan 2018-2022 at Le Royal Hotel.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • Review and deliberate if the GMS strategy ad its pillars are in the right direction
  • Identify the role and each GMS country in the context of pursuing the regional strategy
  • Prepare the accompanying Action Plan for its implementation; and
  • Identify regional investment and policies and institutional/capacity building measures that will be required to implement the strategy.

Approximately, 50 participants consisted of government, private/business associations, NGOs, farmer groups, development partners, etc.

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Participants of the workshop

Below are the four pillars of the strategy:

  • Policies and regulations: Development of common policies and harmonized regulations to facilitate production, trade, and investment in safe and environment-friendly agro-based value chain.
  • Infrastructure: Development of regionally integrated safe and environmental friendly agro based value chain infrastructure
  • Knowledge: Knowledge sharing, promotion, and dissemination of innovations related to safe and environmentally-friendly agro-based value chain
  • Branding: Development of regional branding and marketing approaches to promote GMS safe and environmentally-friendly agro-based value chains

Impact: GMS farmers and small and medium agro-enterprises benefit from access to higher value markets and GMS consumers benefit from access to safer food products.

Outcome: GMS is a leading global supplier of SEAP

The WGA aims to present the strategy for endorsement the GMS agriculture ministers’ meeting in September 2017.

Promoting Safe and Environmental-Friendly Agro-based value chain in the Greater Mekong Sub Region

Meeting Between ASPIRE and Core Agriculture Support Program Phase (CASP2)

02 January 2017: I attended a meeting between ASPIRE team (DAE/GDA) and CASP2 project team at the Department of international Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The purpose of the meeting was to discuss potential areas for cooperation.

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CASP2 is working on enhanced food security and adaptive capacity of smallholders farmers through application of climate friendly agriculture, including innovative green water technology and management, soil moisture management in farm, etc. CASP2 has success in facilitating farmer marketing, contracting between CEW and producers.

ASPIRE Team also briefed about the program especially raised about extension hub that will be set up by the program. Extension materials will be uploaded on the web portal that allow farmers, extension workers and other stakeholders to access. This is part of the effort to improve quality extension service.

After the discussion, both parties agreed to cooperate with each other on the following points:

  • Capacity Building/ Training
  • Trade fair and exhibition of agricultural extension materials
  • Regular Meeting (every three months)
  • Farmers’ exchange visit of successful implementation
  • Share lesson learned, knowledge and experience for example thru the ASPIRE extension hub

Next step discussion

  • ASPIRE Team will discuss more detail with Mr Nat Chantola for next collaboration.
  • CASP2 and GDA ASPIRE will share workplan for further study
  • Review workplan and identify key areas and activities to collaborate and cooperate.
  • Set meeting to discuss on collaboration works
Meeting Between ASPIRE and Core Agriculture Support Program Phase (CASP2)

Meeting Minutes with ASPIRE/CE-SAIN

29 December 2016: I attended a meeting between ASPIRE team members who worked under Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE)/General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) and Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE-SAIN) team, including Dr. Hok Lyda, CE-SAIN center director and Dr. Borarin Buntong, Deputy Center Director. The ASPIRE Team consisted of Mr. Chin Samouth, Ms. Yim Samnang, Mr. Pol Chanrithy, Mr. Hourt Khieu, and Mr. Yim Sok Sophors. The meeting started from 2:00PM to 4:00 PM at CE-SAIN / Royal University of Agriculture (RUA).

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Training & Exchange: CE-SAIN will create technology parks/Conservation Agriculture, so ASPIRE can send model farmers and/or programme staffs to visit the parks or invite experienced farmers to share knowledge and experience with ASPIRE. ASPIRE programme can send farmers, program staff to attend the lecture series / trainings organized by CE-SAIN.

Research and documentation: CE-SAIN will also provide technical and financial support to farmers for conducting innovation experimentation.CE-SAIN will document good practices / success stories and is happy to share with ASPIRE for uploading on web portal. However, they need to go through the quality assurance process of ASPIRE.

Next action: 

  • CE-SAIN will share the schedule of the lecture series with ASPIRE, this will be very helpful for ASPIRE to prepare plan and budget if some participants from ASPIRE to participate in the trainings.
  • CE-SAIN can share extension materials / good practices with ASPIRE programme for posting on web portal for further preceding, review and uploading and web portal.
  • The next meeting will discuss more detail about the specific areas of the cooperation. Each party will review the activity work plan and determine specific areas of cooperation.

ASPIRE works with farmers and especially with poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers, to assist them to develop their farms into profitable and resilient businesses. That means that ASPIRE sees a farm as a business and the purpose of farming is to make a profit by selling produce to the market. Farmers are faced with climate change and other types of risk and so resilience – the ability of the farm business to meet and overcome challenges – is equally as important as making the maximum profit in the short term.

Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) is funded by USAID. The centre play key role in coordinating projects being implementing by ILs (Innovation Labs) and enhance quality of good practices on sustainable agricultural intensification and nutrition (SAIN) through innovations and technological intervention, agricultural research and new innovative model farming system extension. Establish technology parks to showcase high-potential technologies and strategies to sustainably intensify smallholder farming systems.

Meeting Minutes with ASPIRE/CE-SAIN

National Agricultural Extension Exhibition

28 December 2016: Under the ASPIRE program, a national agricultural extension exhibition was organized at General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) in Phnom Penh. The exhibition aimed to collect extension materials from all stakeholders who have been working with extension service delivery to farmers. In total, 246 participants (female 93) participated in the event.

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– Photo by ASPIRE team –

There were more than 20 booths set up to display extension materials from Government Institutions, NGOs, Projects and Private Sectors such as: TSSD, IRRI, FAO, CARE International in Cambodia, CEDAC, SNV, ADB, World Vision, Heifer Cambodia, CARDI, Vimean (Angkor Vita Co.Ltd), Huy Yun Company, Angkor Green, Village Natural Agricultural Products, ASA, Hoang Long Mekong Group Plc. Fertilizer Ex-M Cambodia, the materials they are brought is: banners, posters, CD/DVD videos, booklets, leaflets.

The exhibition was running smoothly and also provided an opportunity for DAE team to enhance the collaboration between Government, Private sector businesses and extension delivery partners, and NGOs in order to ensure the quality of extension service delivery for Cambodian farmers are of better quality and support they to be resilient to climate change.

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– Photo by ASPIRE team –

The collected materials will be reviewed by technical working group and get approval from Agriculture Extension Advisory Committee before uploading on the web portal. According to the national agricultural extension policy, it is important to improve the quality of extension service in Cambodia and quality of the extension material is more important for farmers to get good practices adaptable to climate change and profitable farm business.

National Agricultural Extension Exhibition

Review and Validate Agricultural Extension Materials

Under the ASPIRE program, I am working as a consultant to review and validate agricultural extension materials. The program is setting up extension hub / web portal where extension materials are posted for small farmers, extension workers, development practitioners, students, researchers, policy makers, investor, etc.15676162_1481342605224314_2758609723254913219_o

Currently, we have many extension materials produced by different development projects, agencies but there is no quality assurance under MAFF to make sure that those extension materials are designed in a good format especially for small farmers to understand easily, and more importantly the content is technically correct or not.

Contributing to the 2015 National Agricultural Extension Policy, the ASPIRE program is establishing Agricultural Extension Advisory Committee (AEAC) to be responsible for reviewing the extension materials or production of new materials if needed, but make sure that they are technical correct and farmer friendly.

I will firstly collect and review extension materials produced by MAFF and materials produced by other agencies including NGOs, private sectors, etc.

 

Review and Validate Agricultural Extension Materials

Meeting with ICCO and ACTIS team to discuss market need assessment

ICCO in partnership with LWD is implementing a project “Linking GAP vegetables to markets” in Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Battambang provinces. Site selection and market need assessment is expected to be completed by end of September 2016. The market need assessment aimed to identify and select the targeted villages as well as to assess the current situation of vegetable production and market in the targeted areas. The results of the need assessment will be used by the project implementation team to design appropriate approach and intervention to boost GAP vegetable production and market linkage.received_1683674088614639

A meeting with 10 assessment team conducted at ACTIS office. Mr. Lang Chanthea presented the process of setting up the GAP vegetable producer groups and market linkage, followed by my presentation on the market need assessment. Methodologies including market observation, Focus Group Discussion, Household Interview, individual interview with wholesalers and retailers were explained in the meeting.

By the end of the meeting, each team member understand the process and  be able to use the questionnaires for market assessment. Clear work plan was prepared with responsible persons and team assigned for each targeted province. Simple data entry form is already developed for the team members. It is expected that 7 market need assessment reports will be produced (in Khmer) and distributed to agricultural cooperatives in the targeted areas by end of October 2016.

Meeting with ICCO and ACTIS team to discuss market need assessment

Business plan development for target communities in 5 selected CPAs

Under the MOE funded assignment, five business plans developed with  the participation from the target groups of the Adaptation Project. Most of the target groups interested in collective selling of chicken and vegetables because of good market demand both at their community and national levels. The target groups agreed on the business model that they need to deposit some start up capital (shareholding) for operating their business. This is a good start for them to join the collective business which is different from private business that they have done before.

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Group discussion among the participants in Chom Thlork CPA, Kampong Thom province

Management committee of the business groups established. The participants defined clear roles and responsibilities of each management committee member. The next step is to support these business groups to implement their business plans. Support the community members to improve vegetable production and chicken raising would be the next step, followed by the support on market linkage.

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has been implementing a project, called “Enhancing Climate Resilience of Rural Communities Living in Protected Areas of Cambodia” in five community protected areas (CPAs) in Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, and Mondulkiri provinces. The project objective is to enhance the climate change resilience of
communities living in the CPA intervention sites, as well as downstream communities, to the climate change induced hazard of erratic rainfall.

Business plan development for target communities in 5 selected CPAs