In a promising move to address the challenges posed by climate change and global food security, Swisscontact and the Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng), with the support from CIRAD (full form) have forged a partnership agreement with an aim to support the implementation of the SevaKasekor in Cambodia, focusing on the adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) machinery and practices. Swisscontact and CIRAD aim to work closely with DAEng and PDAFF to increase the accessibility of the conservation agriculture machinery and services to the farmers.
With climate change increasingly impacting global food security, innovative approaches are required to mitigate its effects. Agriculture, a significant contributor to climate change, can also play a vital role in combatting it through practices such as agroecology and regenerative agriculture. These approaches help rebuild soil organic matter, restore degraded soil biodiversity, and contribute to carbon drawdown. Furthermore, they enable farmers to adapt to climate change by minimizing mechanical soil disturbance, employing direct seed and fertilizer placement, maintaining permanent soil organic cover with crop residues and cover crops, and diversifying crop species. While these practices have primarily been confined to scientific circles and research pilot plots, their implementation on farm plots is gaining momentum. Thus, promoting, replicating, and commercializing the outcomes of this research is urgently needed.
To facilitate this transition towards agroecology and regenerative agriculture, Swisscontact’s ISA project is working closely and in partnership with Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition, Royal University of Agriculture, Kansas State University on a systemic approach to Regenerative Agriculture that includes six systems, dubbed as the Rectangular Agroecology Systematic Approach in Cambodia. This systemic approach is being led by the Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensiﬁcation Consortium (CASIC), a government national mechanism that collaborates and coordinates with a network of organizations that are implementing activities related to Conservation Agriculture (CA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
An integral component of the Rectangular Agroecology Systematic Approach supported by this partnership is the resolution of accessibility and affordability issues surrounding agricultural machinery, specifically those relevant to conservation agriculture. The availability of agricultural machinery like no-till seeders and roller crimpers, as well as services tailored to conservation agriculture, remains a major obstacle hindering the dissemination of agroecological systems.
In response, the SevaKasekor facility will be piloted under the Department of Agricultural Engineering. This facility aims to promote agricultural machinery through the establishment of service provider network groups. It encompasses the establishment of the SevaKasekor task force, the development of service provider databases, capacity training for the network of service providers, technical training, financial discount schemes to de-risk the investments of the private sector and the introduction of new agricultural machinery and technologies to farmers.
SevaKasekor has set forth several objectives to encourage the adoption of conservation agriculture machinery and enhance service provision in Cambodia. SevaKasekor’s main areas of focus include:
The partnership between Swisscontact and DAEng, with the support from CIRAD represents a significant stride toward promoting conservation agriculture and regenerative farming practices in Cambodia. Through SevaKasekor and collaborative efforts with various organizations, the focus will be on enhancing accessibility, affordability, and adoption of conservation agriculture machinery and practices. This initiative holds immense potential in improving food security, enhancing farmers' resilience to climate change, and contributing to sustainable agricultural development in the region