Swisscontact and CE SAIN signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) on December 30, 2020. The MoA is aimed at stimulating agriculture machinery companies, service providers and smallholder farmers to shift from conventional soil-degrading production system to a more ecosystem-enhancing Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification (CA/SI) production system.
Swisscontact, along with its partners, CIRAD, Kansas State University (KSU) and Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUA)'s Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), also plans to support CASIC into becoming the center of excellence for CA/SI in the region, while also creating an enabling environment for CA/SI in Cambodia.
H.E. Dr. Chan Saruth, Under Secretary of State of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and Chairperson of CASIC’s Executive Committee emphasized that the partnership with Swisscontact will strengthen the effort to promote this enhanced agriculture practice in Cambodia. H.E. Dr. Saruth said that “we are enthusiastic that good cooperation and understanding with our CASIC partners will further strengthen and promote conservation agriculture and sustainable development activities in Cambodia.”
Since 2018, Swisscontact with various organizations who work in CA/SI in Cambodia have been collaborating to conceptualize the formation of consortium. The joined efforts finally led to the official establishment of CASIC and its Steering Committee and Executive Committee in May 2020, in which Swisscontact is a member of the Executive Committee.
The vision of the Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) is to be a well-established platform with a vast network of organizations that are working on the CA issues in Cambodia, e.g. markets, research, policies, service provision etc. To achieve this, a platform that can primarily bring together all market actors involved in CA/SI to promote CA/SI practices, create demand for the required CA/SI machinery and implements, plant diversity and availability/access to seed of cover crops etc. and get private sector engagement to fulfil those demands is needed.
After the signing ceremony, some of CASIC steering committee and executive board members were given an opportunity to meet and greet with H.E. Veng Sakhon, Minister of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to discuss the progress of CASIC and receive his remarks on the future of CASIC.
H.E. Veng Sakhon recommended that having a concrete agroecological, geographic and economic benefit analysis of Conservation Agriculture Production System (CAPS) is a crucial step before pushing forward the larger scale implementation of the practice.