Government Support for SRI Extension and Farmer Innovation in Cambodia

With support from GTZ and Oxfam, the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) and the Department of Agriculture and Land Improvement of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) organized a national workshop on System of Rice Intensification (SRI) held 7 August at MAFF headquarters. The 165 participants included officials from all Provincial Departments of Agriculture, farmers, researchers, representatives of NGOs, and international organizations. The workshop reviewed the progress of SRI in Cambodia, sharing experiences and lessons learned, and promoting wider dissemination of SRI in Cambodia.

The Minister of Agriculture attended both the opening and the closing sessions of the workshop. In his speech, he urged all government officials to widely promote SRI in Cambodia, especially to promote SRI without using agro-chemicals. He also encouraged all directors of Provincial Agriculture Departments to pay more attention to learning from farmers and to documenting farmer innovations, which he characterized as important assets for the country’s agricultural development. The Minister also emphasized the need to conserve traditional rice varieties as they are our national treasure.

Then on 10 August, the Minister organized a study trip for around 200 people from 11 provinces to visit SRI farmers in Tramkok district, Takeo province. This is where CEDAC and MAFF, with funding support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), are working together to improve the situation of small-farm households through ecological agriculture. At the end of the study tour, the Minister instructed all directors of Provincial Departments to make sure that in each commune there should be at least one SRI demonstration. He strongly recommended the farmer-to-farmer extension approach, especially farmers visiting farmers, to promote SRI.