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:
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.