Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), represented by Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) has successfully conducted an international workshop on TRANSITIONING TOWARDS AGROECOLOGY AND REGENERATIVEAGRICULTURE: A CONTRIBUTION TO FOOD SYSTEMS TRANSFORMATIONS (TARASA23) was held in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia from 24th to 27thOctober 2023.
This precious event was participated by more than 200 participants from 21 countries and presided over by His Excellency Om Kimsir, Secretary of State of MAFF and chair of CASIC’s Steering Committee, highly representative of His Excellency Dith Tina, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and also the presence of His Excellency Jacques Pellet, Ambassador of France to Cambodia, Dr. Dian Sukmajaya, representative of ASEAN Secretariate, Mr. Markus Buerli, Director of Cooperation of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and Ms. Rebekah Bell, Representative of FAO in Cambodia, and Mr. Oliver de Oliveiros Coordinator of the Agroecology Coalition.
TARASA23 brought together a prestigious assembly of experts, stakeholders, and dignitaries from across the globe. This international workshop was the culmination of CASIC's ongoing commitment to promoting sustainable agricultural practices in Cambodia and aimed to (1) share and learn from different experiences in Asia and the Pacific related to agroecology and regenerative agriculture to support farming and food systems transitioning, (2) to discuss how to scale the successes and learn from the failures addressing sub-systems: technologies education implementation policy finance and (3) discuss the next steps of the TARASA24 and the integration of ASEAN agroecology coalition.
TARASA23 was graced by the presence of distinguished guests including the First Lady, Lok Chumteav Pich Chanmony Hun Manet who attended the agricultural innovation fair during her visit to Siem Reap. Speaking on that occasion, she expressed her interest in and appreciation for new agricultural research projects in the areas of food safety and security and climate change mitigation.
This groundbreaking event provided a space for the actors who play roles in Agroecology and Regenerative Agriculture, including the public and private sector as well as the farmer representative to discuss the opportunities and challenges to transition to Agroecology. It discussed about the draft roadmap for an ASEAN Agroecology coalition chapter, discussing a policy dialogue, empowering collaboration, and cultivating stronger partnerships within the Asia Pacific region and beyond. TARASA23 stands as a pivotal moment in the advancement of agroecology, providing essential outcomes that will foster the transition towards more sustainable agriculture, food security and safety in the Asia Pacific region and globally.
The central theme of TARASA23, "Transitioning Towards Agroecology and Regenerative Agriculture," underscores the pressing need to address environmental, climate, and health challenges within current agricultural and food systems. The combined efforts of CASIC and its esteemed partners promise to be a significant milestone in advancing sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices, paving the way for a more resilient and ecologically responsible future in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Some of the ideas for future TARASA events that were mentioned at the closing were:
a) TARASA could be event for the various National Focal Points of Agroecology Coalition and other champions (including AE coalition member organizations) in Asia Pacific region to interact, coordinate and share experience/lessons learned,
b) Rotate the venue of the meeting in alignment with ASEAN presidency (e.g., Lao PDR ASEAN Presidency in 2024) to generate ownership and further visibility, while exploring how better connection and linkage with ASEAN can be made in the coming years (working with/through LICA); and,
c) Build on CASIC leadership in the program design of the content of the event with host country can be the co-lead in program design, working with some regional partners identified.
CASIC is honored to have hosted one of the most successful international workshops and would like to express its deep gratitude to all partners and the esteemed organizers such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), the Agroecology and Safe Food System Transition (ASSET) project, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture (ISA) project, Swisscontact, 4 per 1000 initiative, Agroecology Coalition, and Operationalizing the International Research Consortium on Soil Carbon (ORCaSa). The event was generously sponsored by institutions including the French Development Agency (AFD), The French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM), the European Commission, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The event received further support from Eurocham Cambodia, World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), and Agroecology in Southeast Asia (ASEA).