Project final report
Sustainable intensification and diversification in the lowland rice system in Northwest Cambodia - Final Report
A challenge in many development projects is to develop a scaling strategy to ensure that project outcomes are sustainable and continue beyond the life of the project. The CamSID project funded by ACIAR (CSE-2015-044) designed and tested innovations to help rice farmers improve their farming system sustainability and their livelihoods. These innovations focused mostly on direct seeding of rice, provision of quality rice seed, agronomic and genetic improvement for diversification crops mungbean and watermelon. Scaling of the project’s innovations consisted of: (1) Training Cambodian provincial government to train input suppliers (up-scaling), (2) Training of farmer groups (out-scaling) and (3) Connecting private sector providers of machinery services with farmers and government. Activities and outcomes are reported in this Final Report.
- Provincial government officers have been provided with technical training in clean (i.e., weed-free), quality seed supplies, fertiliser, pesticide and integrated pest management technologies for rice, mungbean and vegetables and they incorporated this training into their existing 5-day certificate course to input sellers.
- Over 10 farmer groups and agricultural cooperatives have been trained through lead farmer training schools. Training in improved farming systems has included a combination of face-to-face field days, radio broadcasting and diagnostic advice on Telegram. For example, the project has installed a new seed cleaner at a Farmers’ Hub in partnership with two NGOs, the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) and Ockenden Cambodia with technical support from the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI). Innovative mobile Apps have also been developed to help farmers with identifying weeds and weed seed contamination in rice seed kept for sowing and pests and beneficial insects in mungbean. Technical manuals have also been produced for mungbean and rice. The team has also re-packaged radio broadcasts into a podcast series that is being promoted via social media.
- To demonstrate and scale machine direct seeding through private sector service providers, together with the Cambodian Agriculture Value Chain Program (CAVAC), over 18 KID drill seeders were purchased by Battambang province machinery service providers and agricultural cooperatives and over 700 ha planted using these drill seeders as of December 2020. Field demonstrations of the Cambodian-invented Eli seeder have led to over 433 Eli seeders being sold by the end of 2020. The Prime Minister of Cambodia visited the CAVAC Irrigation Scheme on 21 July 2020 and upon witnessing the performance of the implemented Eli seeder technology, committed to procure 2,000 Eli seeders (both wet and dry seeding) for smallholder farmers using his own budget (of which 250 were delivered by early 2021).
The CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) platform has chosen direct seeding of rice in Cambodia as one of the cases for scaling of technology. In the coming 18 months, EiA will study scaling patterns and develop an app to inform farmers of service providers. The CamSID approach is innovative as it pivots on novel private-public-producer partnerships to leverage research for development into successful scaled outcomes.