Extension: Agriculture Technology Park


One of the key problems of extension is for the small holder farmers to see the successful operations of the new technologies. The current system is that the private sector introduces new technologies through demonstration. However, for technologies which are new, and the market is not fully guaranteed, the private sector is hesitant to demonstrate the technologies. Hence, technology parks affiliated with universities would provide the platform for the private sector to demonstrate technologies.

Aims and Objectives

Agricultural extension services for smallholder farmers are still limited, which indicates the lack of accessibility of agricultural services, knowledge transfers for new technology information for smallholder farmers. To address this issue, the Agriculture Technology Parks aim to take a private sector approach to deliver the products and to address the issue of limited commercial orientation on new practices and technology information. The Technology Parks then become hubs of knowledge with better engagement with the private sector and the community.

Institutionalization Vision

The Agriculture Technology Parks aims to be hubs of knowledge with networks and connections with various private sectors. The extension hub would help farmers get access to new sustainable technologies, pilot testing, and adopt the practices to increase more yield and earn more income for smallholder farmers in the area. The parks are envisioned to be under the National University of Battambang.

ATP in the making

Private Sector Engagement
Extension plays an important role in promoting technologies to farmers. This role becomes even more important while introducing new concepts such as regenerative agriculture. However, the public extension system cannot reach out to all the farmers in Cambodia. The private sector understands that the future of agriculture is moving toward regenerative agriculture and sustainable intensification, however, they are hesitant to invest in opening a new market themselves as they do not see a high return on investment. The private sector will only invest in product promotion if the farmers already have adequate knowledge. Therefore, a market pre-assessment survey in two technology parks in Battambang and Siem Reap were conducted to assess how the Technology Parks were perceived among farmers and relevant stakeholder.
Concept on Technology Parks developed
The then Mekong Inclusive Growth and Innovation Programme, the predecessor of the ISA project partnered with CE SAIN to design product offerings for the private sector at the Technology Parks to make them more accessible for the farmers.
Pilot testing and Finalizing Partnership Agreements
The project conducted a field visit in February 2021 with the Center for Excellence Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Nutrition (CESAIN) to discuss collaboration on the improvement of Agricultural Technology Parks (ATP) at the National University of Battambang (NUBB). The Partnership Agreement was finalized.
Tripartite Memorandum of Agreement signed
A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the Under Centre of Excellence Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), National University Battambang, and Swisscontact was signed on March 2022 to upgrade the existing Agriculture Technology Park to be both a learning center and a private sector engagement platform to create an enabling environment for farmers to access to new technologies. Meetings among partners were conducted to discuss the ATP's bigger picture and direction.
Activities under MOA commenced
Activities under the MOA will be commenced in 2023. An inception meeting with CESAIN will be organized to finalize the study/survey methodology to collect and build a database of farmers and private sectors in the surrounding area of ATP in order to understand which technologies and services that efficiently respond to farmers’ needs and challenges, as well as collaboration with the potential private sector. The ATP model along with its service offerings will be finalized and pitched to a pool of private sector actors. The ATP also aims to provide training to farmers, showcase technologies in the ATP plot, and host private-sector events to promote selected technologies.