Written by

CASIC commences joint discussions on the possible pathways towards Regenerative Agriculture in Cambodia

April 20, 2022

The Research for Development sub-committee of the Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC)organizes an event on Soil Organic Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Status: Possible Pathways Towards Regenerative Agriculture in Cambodia.

On March 25th,2022, multiple ministries along with development partners and research institutions came together to hold a joint discussion on regenerative agriculture and what it means for Cambodia. The event was organized by theResearch and Development (R4D) sub-committee of the Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and SustainableIntensification Consortium (CASIC) under the lead of the Department ofAgricultural Land Resources Management (DALRM/GDA) and the CambodianAgricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) with the support of Agroecology and Safe Food Systems Transition in South-East Asia (ASSET,AFD/EU/FFEM), Swisscontact, and CIRAD.

The purpose of this event is to share experiences related to the importance of soil organic matter and the effect of climate change caused by greenhouse gas, and to discuss the benefits of regenerative agriculture in Cambodia.” said HE Dr. Chan Saruth, MAFF Undersecretary of State and Chair of the Executive Board of CASIC, during his opening remark.

Different ministries, public agencies and development partners were present at the event. This included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its line ministries, General Directorate of Agriculture, Office of Council of Ministers, National Council for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Water Resources andMeteorology, the Ministry of Interior, the Chamber of Commerce. Representatives from donor organizations such as Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and SwissAgency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and research institutes and implementing organizations like Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), CIRAD and Swisscontact were also present.

I am pleased to see the participation of different ministry lines which is key to share the same understand of this topic of Soil Organic Carbon and the production of ecosystem services in identifying the supports that are needed for farmers to transition towards agroecological farming system. Small holder farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate change risk given their dependence on rainfall and risks to crop failure.” - HE YOEUN Asikin, Under Secretary ofState, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Vice Chair of CASICSteering Committee.

The event touched on many different important topics, including the status of land use and soil organic carbon (SOC) and the initiatives to preserve and increase SOC was presented by was presented by Dr. SENG Vang,Director of the Department of Agricultural Land Resources Management. The central role of SOC and impacts of agricultural practices was also presented by Dr. Rémi Cardinael for CIRAD, /AIDA. The event also showcased the status of greenhouse gas emissions and a case study from La Réunion Island which was presented by Dr. Laurent Thuriès from CIRAD, followed by the long-term strategy for Carbon neutrality presented by Dr. Hak Mao, Director of the Department of Climate Change and focal point for theLTS4CN (MoE, UNFCCC). Lastly a presentation on the regulatory framework for the implementation of theArticle 6 of the Paris Agreement was done by Theo Shand fromGlobal Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

The pathway that CASIC has followed is unique. CASIC is at the forefront of this dynamic, offering to the farmers and to the country alternatives to preserve soil health to produce safer products and better wellbeing of rural communities. The investment in R4D is needed to design new practices to quantify the changes in ecosystem services and the added values of agroecology in order to feed the policy dialogues. Thal also means R4D needs time and that long term experiments should be maintained to assess those changes.” - Madame. Ophélie Bourhis, CountryDirector, AFD Cambodia

With all the various initiatives currently being implemented to foster the dissemination of conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification practices, along with investments in soil health and soil organic carbon to sustain the productivity of agricultural lands and economic return for smallholder farmers, it was crucial to share knowledge, expertise and current status of SOC and GHG along with regulatory frameworks to realize the Nationally Determined Contribution commitments. This event organized by the R4D sub-committee of CASIC was successful in bringing together multiple ministries and relevant stakeholders to start discussions on paving pathways towards regenerative agriculture inCambodia.