CCCA Beneficiaries Feel Optimistic About New Agricultural Technology to Adapt to Climate Change

IMG 2654 rThe Royal University of Agriculture, in collaboration with University of Kamchaymear, which was supported by the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance, organized a farmer field day event at Pear Raing district, Prey Veng province on 9 January 2013. Approximately 260 participants attended the event including governmentofficials, local authorities, project beneficiaries and Cambodia Climate Change Alliance representatives, to stress the need to improve knowledge of farmers in farm adjustment practices that would help them better cope with risks related to climate change adaptation and increasefamily income through agricultural practices including choosing appropriate rice crops, behavior change on farming, and forage crops.

The first similar event was held on July 7, 2012 at Pear Rearng District, Prey Veng province, as part of a technology-transfer initiative to adapt to climate change through adoption of the short maturity rice variety Chul’Sa (released by CARDI in 1999), and CARDI fertilizer rate recommendations.

This year's theme aimed to highlight 6 research findings from on-farm demonstrations conducted by the project: (1) Performance of CARDI improved rice variety Chul’ Sa in replacement of the currently popular short maturity variety, IR 504; (2) Assessing the performance of the improved Cambodian rice variety Raing Chey, which was noted for its general drought tolerance and good stem; (3) A study of rice crop yield performance comparing CARDI fertilizer input recommendations and current farmer practices; (4) Economic analysis of the costs and benefits of the different seeding rate options; (5) Cassava variety testing in Kamchaymear rain fed lowland condition, Prey Veng province; and (6) an evaluation of the production performance of selected forage for livestock production for income diversification.
 
To contribute to fitness of agricultural technology to adapt to climate change, the theme of this year’s event is very important in introducing above research findingsand technology-transfers, which are supported by international and local experts, in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Prey Veng.” said Mr. Uk Thaun, Rector of University of Kamchaymear.
 
Today, BUILD-FARM-ADAPT project is developing a “Fitness Programme” of agricultural technologies for rural farming communities in Prey Veng province particularly the districts of Ba Phnom, where the area suffers from floods& drought, Kamchaymear (drought) and Pear Reang (floods). To effectively implement agricultural policies addressed in the rectangular strategy of the government, the government has heavily invested in water rehabilitation and expansion, aiming to reduce drought risk in agricultural sector and increase crop production per unit. However, the majority of rural farming communities in Cambodia depend largely on a rain fed environment with low agricultural production due to high risk of shifting rainfall patterns and diseases, insects, as well as poor farm management practices. 
 
In his talk to the farmers at the field day event, H.E. Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, encouraged farmers to produced Jasmine rice (SrovKraOup) to meet the lucrative international rice market, and all farmers could contribute to reaching the government’s goal to export up to 1 million tons of rice by 2015. Regarding the use of chemical fertilizer, he also encouraged farmers to decrease chemical fertilizer use and explained that if farmers used too much fertilizer, it would reduce the quality of rice.
 
In her response to the Minister’s question on why she decided to choose Chul’Sa variety, Ms. Mao Moeun, a farmer who participated in the project, spoke about its good taste, high yield, good quality, strong tolerance, resistance to insects and contribution to increased family income.

At the end of field day event, participants were invited to test two different types of rice, Chul’ Savariety and IR 504 in front of the Minister. Chul’ Savariety received most support compared with IR504. The 265 participants who attended the farmer field day event recognized Chul’ Sa variety as a good crop for farming next year and requested the Minister to support in the provision of crop and access to market for this variety.

Included in the half-day event was various presentations with questions and answers and discussions between H.E. Chan Sarun and farmers. The farmer field day event was followed by a visit to a rice field to review the short maturity Chul’Sa variety; understand use of chemical fertilizer for a flooding area, rice harvesting by machine.

The project “BUILD-FARM-ADAPT/Building Capacity of Institutions to Help Farmers Better Adapt to Climate Change and Variability in Cambodia” is supported by the CCCA, an initiative funded by UNDP, EU, Sweden Embassy and Danida to strengthen national institutions pilot approaches to adapt to climate change in Cambodia.

Prepared by Chuon El, information Management Officer, CCCA-TF

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