TECHNOLOGY LEARNING EXCHANGE PARTNERSHIP: Connecting successful solutions in sustainable technologies

In addition to its extensive network of farmers and partners in Cambodia, CEDAC is also active in international agriculture circles. The organization is especially focused on sharing knowledge with its peers in ASEAN. To this end, CEDAC hosted a Technology Learning Exchange Program from October 21-27 2013, with the RMAF Magsaysay Institute for Transformative Leadership (RMAF-MITL) and Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) as well as its partner organizations from the Philippines. The Technology Learning Exchange Program aimed to:

  • Analyze the critical success factors and constraints about increasing the adoption of SRI.
  • Compare the research, extension, production and rice marketing aspects of SRI in Cambodia.
  • Determine how to engage  government agencies, NGOs, farmers’ organizations and academic institutions in the implementation of SRI.
  • Discuss how capacity building is done to ensure that farmers are fully equipped with the technical know how
  • Identify the incentives provided to farmers (e.g. financing, seeds, inputs, market linkage, etc.)
  • Compare the perception of value among Cambodia and Filipino farmers who adopted SRI.

Under the mentorship of a CEDAC team, led by Dr. Yang Saing Koma, 2012 Magsaysay Awardee and CEDAC President, the participants visited farmer associations and farmer producers groups in Takeo, Kampot and Kandal provinces. During these visits, CEDAC staff and affiliated farmers shared their innovations, including SRI and the Social Enterprise (CSE) model. These innovations represent successful solutions that address sustainable agricultural needs and create self-reliant local entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.
During the 5-day learning exchange program, CEDAC showed the 11 participants directly how farmers in rural poor communities are able to produce higher yields with minimal input cost. The CEDAC team also discussed building linkages between farmers and the market at visits to a Rice Mill Cooperative (RMC) warehouse and CEDAC shop in Phnom Penh. Other topics included multi-purpose farming and young agri-entrepreneurs.
At the exchange’s wrap up session, participants presented the following insights:

  • SRI is flexible
  • Begin by experimentation
  • Keep faith in farmers’ potential
  • The key role of soil fertility in rice farming
  • Maintain the central role of farmers
  • Consider farmers as co-learners
  • Create linkages in production, procession and marketing
  • Institute collaboration between farmers and local officials, and Engage young people in agriculture.

For next steps future partnership engagements, the participants committed to form a “Core SRI” practitioner group in the Philippines and expressed their desire to continue working with CEDAC in future learning exchanges with both farmers and young people from the two countries.