The global food production is estimated to increase by almost 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2050 in response to the future food demand. It is expected that one solution is to increase food production by expanding the amount of farmland; however, agriculture related land-use change may generate more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase loss of biodiversity.
Therefore, increased efficiency of natural resource use is the most important step toward meeting both sustainable food production and environmental goals. This will require innovative and climate-resilient agricultural production approaches and technologies like Conservation Agriculture (CA), Sustainable Intensification (SI) and agroecology.
As a response to the need, Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) in Cambodia was established through an official endorsement by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (MAFF) decision No. 201.SSR.KSK, dated 21 May 2020. CASIC was established to catalyse a wider adoption of these innovative approaches and techniques. It is a national mechanism established as a platform for promoting conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification towards agroecological transition in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. The mission of CASIC is to coordinate and support research for development; invest into knowledge management; create an enabling environment for policy dialogues and public-private partnerships; value creation; and explore market opportunities and enhance collaboration between various stakeholders in conservation agriculture, sustainable intensification, and agroecology.
The finalization of the CASIC five-year roadmap (2021-2025) is underway, which will help guide priority areas for cooperation, collaboration and networking among existing members and potential stakeholders in Cambodia and in the region. The roadmap was developed by its Executive Board members in close collaboration with various stakeholders and partners under the technical and financial support from Swisscontact and CIRAD. This roadmap document is guided by the national development goals and priorities, and therefore contributes to achieving the key policies and strategies of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), especially those related to sustainable agriculture development, combatting land degradation, biodiversity conservation, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
CASIC aims to strengthen coordination and support stakeholders in order to promote conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification in Cambodia towards agricultural modernization and agroecological transition with the following key milestones to be achieved by 2025:
To achieve these milestones, CASIC defines three main strategic objectives, which are interrelated and mutually supportive, including (1) to strengthen CASIC and coordinate relevant stakeholders, (2) to enhance knowledge and research on CA & SI and agroecology, and (3) to improve and scale up CA & SI and agroecology services.
The activities will be delivered by four sub-committees:
Through the implementation of the CASIC roadmap, Cambodian farmers can expect to benefit from the supports facilitated and provided by CASIC members and partners, as well as other relevant stakeholders different basis such as knowledge and technology transfer on innovative and improved cropping systems which could ultimately improve their agricultural land, yield and resilience to climate and economic shocks.
“Conservation Agriculture promotion is among the prioritised key activities to support the ministry’s vision in agriculture sector development and sustainability. Results through years of research proves that the adoption of CA will help Cambodian farmers to be better mitigated and adapted to the potential risks of climate change. In the long run, CA will reduce agricultural, ecological, as well as economic burdens. This also resonates with Cambodia’s effort in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals SDG 1 (no poverty), SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 15 (life on land),” highlighted H.E. Chan Saruth, Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification (CASI) is about modernization. Through the experiences of the Department of Land Resources Management (DALRM) of the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) with the support of CIRAD, CE SAIN, Royal University of Agriculture, Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, Kansas State University and Mekong Inclusive Growth and Innovation Programme (MIGIP), machineries and cover crop that will be used in the CASI have been tested in Cambodia. The consortium presence will further help in attracting the private sector to expand their market in the CASI practices.
This is another big step for Cambodia to modernize its agriculture landscape, by embedding agroecological sustainability and mechanisation in the mainstream practice. The roadmap will be implemented in coincidence with the UN Decade of Restoration. #GenerationRestoration #WorldEnvironmentDay