Exposure Visit on Climate Change Adaptation and Agricultural Techniques to CSO Members

The NGO Forum organized an exposure visit on climate change adaptation and agricultural techniques to CSO members which held on February 10-12, 2020, Battambang Province. This exposure visit was organized with the aim to increase the capacity and knowledge of the network members to understand and learn from good practices of stakeholder collaboration in addressing and implementing climate-sensitive agricultural techniques, contract farming practices, and agricultural production chains. There were total 21 participants, including 07 women attended the exposure visit.

In the beginning of exposure visit, there was a learning workshop on roles of multi-stakeholders responding to climate change adaptation and climate resilient agriculture technique. Mr. Ouk Vannara, Deputy Executive Director of NGO Forum welcomed the participants, respective speakers from the Provincial Department of Agriculture, the University of Battambang, the Amru Rice Company and farmers representative from Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall Agriculture Cooperative, especially members of the Network for Environment and Climate Change Alliance (NECA), and the Network for Food Security and Safety in Cambodia (NDF-C). He shared the pariticipants about NGO Forum’ mission, vision and thematic areas of eight respective networks does. Mr. Ouk Vannara then updated progresses of NECA and NDF-C networks, including consolidate CSO’s inputs into National Strategic Plan 2019-2023 focuses on climate change, agriculture and irrigation infrustructure, organize 8th National Farmer Forum to influence stakeholders to enable farmers to invest in agriculture, which aim to improve smallholders farmers access to Water, Capital and Market in agriculture, and provided CSO’s inputs on Join Monitorng Indicator of TWG on Agriculutre and Water 2019-2020.

Mr. Ouk Vannara, Deputy Executuve Director of NGO Forum facilitated the dialogue on role of multi-stakeholder in responding to climate change resilience and agriculute technique. There were four respective speakers Mr. Long Thorn, Deputy Director, Provincial Department of Agriculture, Battambang province, Mr. Sreang Pov, Dean of faculty of Agriculute and Food processing, University of Battambang, Mr. Pich Pitou Reasey, Representative of Amru Rice Company, and Ms. Yan Srey Yat, farmers representative from Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall Agriculture Cooperative.

First of all, Mr. Long Thorn, Deputy Director, Provincial Department of Agriculture, Battambang stressed that climate change effects human life, animals, plants and causes to have less and more rain respectively. The Royal Government of Cambodia has developed a National Strategy on Climate Change Adaptation which is contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. We observed that the temperature increased in 100 years scale, increasing by one degree. For the agricultural sector, the crop needs to be considered in terms of soil type, in terms of water sources, irrigated fields, weather resistance, and flooding. Water usage must be taken into account for the type of crop that is appropriate for the region and season. e.g. In the rainy season, prepare a dry season self-using a drop system. Water-saving measures for home use, insecticide protection, disease, and water-saving and easy to manage, and at low cost. He shared PDA have been implemented and promoting climate-resilient agriculture. With this Mechanism, PDA has formed up technical working groups to respond to climate change at the provincial and district level. In operational plan of PDA is to support 88 formal community structure, which 54 communites are in the process, and 20 communities are well-progress.

Mr. Sreang Pov, Dean of faculty of Agriculute and Food processing, University of Battambang, impressed that drought is a risk for farmers and climate change, and there’s need human resource development coping with this issue, thus University of Battambang was initiated established by Samdech Sor Kheng, Minister of Interior. UB has three dimental programs focuses on: 1. Industrial training, 2. Research and 3. Sharing experience. The training program focuses on Animal Science, Food processing and aquaculture. Most of the training conducted in the Northwest that will increase student understanding of the local community and bring information from the community to the laboratory (Orsondan Greenland) so that the community and students integrate the theory into practice through various laboratory, company and community. Research and outreach program has been disseminate of agricultural techniques to the community, regaring wild vegetables (such as Saam, moringa, etc.), which are highly nutritious, promotes the production of wild vegetables for consumption. He added that for five to ten years later, Cambodia will be able to process, manufacture, and export free-chemical produce such as pumpkin noodle, raw fermented fish that can be storage in a long period. He continues the last outreach program which mostly take place in Orsondan Farm or ecological farming, growing rice, horticulture, researching and cultivating viable plants that keep plants healthy and productive. For example, the link between tomato and eggplant is resilient technique to drought that can be growth in waterless land area. UB also conducted an experiment study on soil quality that is the basis of crops focuses on micro oganism in soil, multi-tillage which is improve soil quality and conservation agriculture, that’s a part to improve livelihood of farmers and avoid migration.

Mr. Pich Pitou Reasey, Representative of Amura Rice Company has introduced the SRP standard in collaboration with the community (Contract farming) to ensure that farmers have a good livelihood and are aware of rice safety. The SRP standard consists of 8 principles, including 1) Paddy rice preparation 2) Rice growing calendar 3) Water management 4) Soil fertilizing management (organic fertilizer usage) 5) Pest management (prepare rotated plants) 6) Harvesting management 7) Healthy and Safety 8) Rights and participation. There’s regular training on SRP, so far, provides in two ways: 1) ToT from staff to trainer and 2) Trainer to farmer producer. He added that in order to comply the stardard properly it must be considered on 1) Well-keeping used materials 2) Do not fire rice field and 3) Do not encroach forest land and protected area.

Ms. Yan Srey Yat, farmers representative from Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall Agriculture Cooperative shared the experiences in organizing the community to have contract with Amru rice company in supplying standard rice. The Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall Agriculture Coopertive was begined with 155 members and expand to 318 member presently. Main business activities of AC is to buy and sale rice, and produce rice seeds (10 households producers). She stressed that this achievement could not present without support from relevant stakeholder, inclucing VSO organization, Village Supporting Group Association and PDA in facilitate contracting with the company. There’re some challenges in supplying rice did not meet the contract with company, some of members still using chemical fertilizer/pesticide improperly. Another issue is community facing with drought in dry season and storming.

On the second day of exposure visit, The delegation has visited Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall Agriculture Cooperative (AC) located in Svay Cheat Village, Rang Kesei Commune, Sangke district, Battambang province, Ms. Yan Srey Yat, a committee member of Rang Kesei Chamroenphal agriculture cooperative informed very brief details that the AC was established in Jannuary 04, 2013 with 165 household members. Presenty, the AC has 318 members, including 115 women members from the village of kandal, svay cheat, Tuol Snuol, and Boeng Veng. The total share is accounted for 2188, which cost 30,000 Riels per share that have setted among member. Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall AC has major businesses in buy and sale rice from the members in respond to the need of Amru rice company. Secondly, they buy and sale organic fertilizer which has quality check by committee member and recognized by the Amru rice company. Rice seeds is a kind of business of AC that it could produce and sharing to other members with technical supporting from Amru rice company and Provincial Department of Agriculutre, particularly follow the SRP standard. Key success of Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall is that they could produce rice twice per year, remain transparent benefit sharing among members, reliable, trust and solidary cooperation among committee and members. We learnt that women participation has increased since the AC has started mobilize its member, most of women and men are rotate in community meeting, training when one were stick to another bususines. Women has been engaged actively in community and it made them having more self-reliance and raising up their voice and decision-making both community and family. However, there’s some challenges have faced such as lack of reserving fund/capital to purchase rice from farmers, late reversed fund from company, not be able to extend growing rice to three times per year and scarce of irrigated water, some farmers did not practice SRP statardad properly which lead to lower the price of rice, and facing the climate change issue (drought) in dry season.
“ I’ve got car accident when I started a community rice business, was to present the rice sampling to the rice mill in Banteay Meanchey province. I won’t see it a big barrier to stuck me at all on behalf of a rural women, so we come up with today’s achievement. Ms. Yan Srey Yat’s said”

Vising Beong Veng community located in Svay cheat village, Rang Kesei commune, Sangke district, Battambang Province. The community was established in January 04, 2013 and consists of 318 members (115 women member). Most of women in community playing an important role in household works and agriculture activity as well as marketing job. The main business of the community is producing rice, vegetable and saving group. Regarding the vegetable produer group, it has 15 members growing in 0.1 ha of land since 2015. Veggi plants has been growth such as cucumber, longyard bean, egg plant, luffar gourds, bottle gounds, etc. They have changed their living standard relies on growing vegetable. They’ve got new technical in producing natural pesticide and have shared to neigbour to reduce using chemical pesticide. The key achievement of the community is that they have recognized from relevant stakeholder, and buyer. But, there’re some challenges, of course, effected to vegetable plataion, including worm, pest, and other diceases. However, they have address those issues trough applying the experiences from learning in producing natural pesticide. Onsite visited to Amru rice warehouse in Battambang province.
“ A women farmer in Boeng Veng community said she would earns from 30,000 to 120,000 a day in vegetable sales. The income from selling vegetables would allow her to cope with the other expenditure and raising children for a proper education, and her son would be able to produce fertilizers and pesticides on his own and tell his mother to stop buying them from the market, let him be a producer”

Mr. Reasey, a respresentative of Amru rice company provided the history and organizational structure of the company that operating premium rice exporting since 2009, focus on high quality control, environmental and customer services. Up to 2019, there are contracted with 4 community in Battambang, 3 community in Kampong Cham, and 13 community in Kampong Thom, with consists of 1763 farmers involvement, operating on 5099 ha of land, and produce 11178 tons of rice. Amru rice company motivate contract farmers to apply SRP standard which necessary contribution to enable farmers in producing high quality of rice, good yield, good price, safety and healthy food, mobilize farmers to establish community organization to ease their voices in selling their product. He added some challenges in running business with community, since they would sell some of produced rice to the middleman for immediate cash, the company also got an issue in late reversing fund to farmers which is the problem that company is trying to cope with.

Lesson learnt and Suggestion for improvement
During the reflection meeting of two days workshop and onsite visit on climate change adaptatation and agriculture technique, it comes to prove that participants g moreet knowledge from the workshop on role of multi-stakeholders such governments, universities, companies, and communities in responding to climate change and agriculture technique through various mechanism of each institution. They also learnt that AC has working well in doing rice marketing since the beginig of community organizing driven till having contract farming with the company. An interesting thing is that community has applied short-term rice variety conform to the climate change, all of that are significants support from local government, CSOs and contract company. However, there’s some challenges has been addressed during the exposure visit, including there is lately mechanism in providing agriculture techniques to farmers (observe in the workshop), Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall AC still apply hand-recording in financial management, lack of cooperation among members of Boeng Veng community in coordinate marketing and doesn’t have contract farming. All in all, respoding to challenges addressed, there’re plently of suggestions to stakeholders to improve functioning role such as: 1) Vegetable group of Boeng Veng Community should be provided both technical and marketing facility, and train them to be a business-farmer 2) Rang Kesei Chamroen Phall AC should apply finaical management system recording (follow guidance of PDA), Amru rice company should clarify its market extension, PDA should have increased awareness of GAP standard to consumer, the exposure visit should have co-organized between PDA and CSO. For policy recommendation, irrigate water management and sharing policy should be apply targetly, and study specific water source need before making canal, local government/skill department should introduce farmers keeping water and rice stubble in rice field, improve market facility and packaging for farmers, improve conservation local seed variety and keep remain one seed one name standard, and improve local seed productivity in varios existing station.