Written by

CASIC Held Second Regional Training on Conservation Agriculture & Sustainable Intensification and Agroecology

September 30, 2021

Phnom Penh, 28-29 September 2021: Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) held its 2nd Annual Regional Workshop with the focus on development of and transition towards Conservation Agriculture & Sustainable Agriculture (CA/SI) and Agroecology (AE) in the region. The virtual workshop was attended about 150 participants from 28 countries.

Over 20 national and international speakers and facilitators, all experts in their field, presented on the CA/SI status in Asia, the challenges with regards to broad scale adoption of CA/SI, methodologies on managing diversity in CA/SI systems, driving CA/SI dissemination process and last but not the least on support by development partners on enabling CA/SI environment. This workshop was organized following the  success of  the Regional Training on Appropriate Scale Mechanization for Conservation Agriculture, which was held in 2019 in Siem Reap and Kampong Cham provinces of Cambodia.

During the opening session His Excellency Dr. Chan Saruth, MAFF Under Secretary of State and Chair of CASIC Executive Board emphasized the importance of this workshop in further promoting the adoption of CA/SI in different countries. “We will receive valuable inputs, ideas, knowledge, experiences and recommendations that will surely help us to work in solidarity and cooperation in setting works, priorities and joined actions for the success and development of agricultural mechanization and agroecology in the region.”

Since 2004, CA/SI has been introduced to Cambodia cropping system through research and development. However, there are still apparent challenges that hinder the wider adoption of CA/SI such as the lack of conservation agriculture related awareness raising, machineries, service providers, and other key market actors who are crucial and indispensable parts in promoting CA/SI and AE now and in the future.

Dr. Li Yutong, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), highlighted that the efforts into transitioning agriculture practices from conventional methods into CA/SI are among the focused endeavors globally. “Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification are among the key approaches to address the prevailing challenges [in agriculture]. CA can consult economic availability, social balance and the environmental health as well as climate change adaptation, which are crucial elements for the long-term improvement of food production, smallholder welfare, and poverty alleviation,” she added.

In order to contribute to the increasing regional and international interest in the topic, the 2nd annual regional workshop was jointly organized by the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Center of Excellence for Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (CSAM-ESCAP), Agroecology in Southeast Asia (ASEA), Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD) and Swisscontact.

Due to the travel restrictions and other logistical challenges posed by COVID-19, the CASIC 2nd Annual Regional Workshop was conducted virtually. The feedback provided by the participants from the 2019 Regional workshop was incorporated into the session planning, thus supporting the idea of organizing the regional workshop in the form of an annual workshop series of CASIC.

A consultative discussion, moderated by Dr. Seng Vang, Director of Cambodia’s Department of Agricultural Land Resources Management (DARLM), took place to synthesize the outcomes of the workshop. The key learning include:

Dr. Seng Vang, moderating consultative discussion
Session 1: Updating CA/SI status in Asia (Cambodia, China and India) - Download Session 1 Presentation
  • Remarkable progress and clear future directions include scaling model, appropriate implements, training materials, and institutional and policies
  • We have spent decades, great deals of efforts and resources in reaching toward CA/SI
  • Large-scale adoption of CA remains challenging. Thus, more efforts, time, resources, etc. are required to promote the large-scale adoption of CA/SI.

Session 2: Addressing technical challenges related to CA/SI broad-scale adoption - Download Session 2 Presentation
  • On-going research, refinement and development of specialized equipment and machinery for local specifics (small holders), and plant materials (cover crops)
  • Developing markets for CA farm inputs (seeds, bio-products, etc.) and machinery development and service contractors
  • Policy support and extension of CA/SI
Click to watch the recordings of the workshop on YouTube
Session 3: Managing diversity in CA/SI systems adoption - Download Session 3 Presentation
  • Developing policy and institutional support to bring people and actors to work together in interdisciplinary context
  • Strengthening functional capacities of key national institutions and linkages among them to facilitate and promote uptake and scaling of sustainable agricultural intensification practices
  • Capacity building and regional cooperation in different expertise such as straw management and crop diversity
Session 4: Driving CA/SI dissemination process adoption - Download Session 4 Presentation
  • Capacity building of stakeholders is key for successful agroecological transition
  • Deï Meas bridges financing gap and pays farmers already in the first year of transition to incentivize adoption of regenerative practices
  • LICA – Lao Initiative for Conservation Agriculture

Session 5: Support by development partners on enabling CA environment - Download Session 5 Presentation
  • Long-term financial commitment from AFD-EU on supporting CA/SI transitions in the region
  • Many other donors (i.e., USAID, SDC, ACIAR, UN CSAM, UN ESCAP, etc) are also putting focus on CA/SI development
  • Public Private/Development Partners Partnership (PPP framework) will be in place

The learning and outcome of this workshop will feed into another workshop on ‘’Agro-ecological and Safe Food Transition for a Green and Healthy COVID-19 Recovery’’ in the ASEAN region that will be organized by Agroecological and Safe food System Transitions (ASSET) project along with UNESCAP and the ASEAN secretariate in November 2021.

Other downloads: