|‘To see is to believe.’ - Conservation Agriculture for Food Security in Cambodia|
|Written by CAPS Site Administrator|
|Sunday, 06 February 2011 22:39|
Researcher and farmer managed sites were established in Battambang, Cambodia. In the farmer managed sites 24 farmers are testing various conservation agriculture production systems (CAPS). Baseline data for each objective were gathered for both countries; networks were and are being established with stakeholders who can implement CAPS adoption when CAPS technology is proven to be successful. Stakeholders are getting involved while CAPS technology is being developed. Synchronization of the Cambodian and Philippines studies has been done allowing for an excellent cross-cutting partnership that will benefit both countries. A plan was completed to implement a contract between farmer organizations adopting CAPS (production), agro-industry (market) and bank (microcredit). Training was provided to at least 100 Cambodian farmers and a Cambodian Master of Science student. A Cambodian, supported by SANREM, who will enter a Ph.D. program at North Carolina A&T State University, has been identified. Several networking contacts have been established locally, nationally and internationally.
Severe erosion on young maize crop versus soybean on year 2 of CAPS in Brachiaria ruziziensis cover (Photos by: Stephané Boulakia)
It was found that labor activities where women predominate are sowing and weeding. Conservation agriculture can alleviate this burden since in CAPS, sowing will be mechanized and weeding will be done by herbicides and will eventually be controlled by thick mulch. Women are usually not responsible for operating machinery and chemical spraying in Cambodia. To analyze CAPS profitability, record keeping began to quantify costs for labor, seeds, fuel, machinery, fertilizer, and herbicide use; and yield and market prices. From several discussions with farmers, CAPS for maize is beginning to be perceived as a promising alternative to the destructive plow-based cropping systems. In addition, the director of the Provincial Department of Agriculture of Pailin, a neighboring province where about 50,000 ha have been converted from forest to upland cultivation (maize and cassava) since early 2000’s, told the team that about 10 to 15% of the reclaimed land has been already abandoned due to crop productivity decreases. He clearly stated that the proposed CAPS are the only “realistic” way to reverse current “soil-mining” dynamics. These views were also shared by several local private companies involved in maize production and processing. Formation of a farmer organization for CAPS (FOCAPS) has been initiated in small groups which are the future basic units of a large farmer organization. FOCAPS benefits from the pre-existing, community based organization (CBO) which has about 500 members. A meeting was held with agro industries and FOCAPS to show to the agro industries representatives CAPS and explore the potential supply of produce from the FOCAPS to the agro industries. An organization chart for development of CAPS contract farming was completed. It involves mixing within the farm network a few larger farmers, with higher investment capacity, besides the dominant small to medium holders. The contract farming is based on a tripartite partnership “FOCAPS – Agro Industries – Banking System (ANZ)” at a pilot scale of around 200 ha, corresponding to around 1,000 tons of raw products. Soil samples have been collected for baseline soil quality characterization and also biomass and yield for CAPS and plow-based sites. This can lead to a science-based proof that CAPS improves soil quality, increases biomass and yield, sequester carbon and can be used as a tool for governments to provide policies that will enhance CAPS adoption. This study is part of an overall plan and framework for CAPS to be adopted in Cambodia implemented by PADAC partners.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 13 February 2011 20:25|