Collaboration to Further Strengthen Agroecology in Cambodia, through SevaKasekor

Sustainable agriculture
On July 1st, 2023, the Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng) and Swisscontact entered into a partnership agreement to facilitate the implementation of the SevaKasekor Facility in Cambodia. This collaboration contributes positively to the Rectangular Agroecology Systematic Approach of Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC), which aims to facilitate the transition from conventional agricultural practices to agroecology in Cambodia.

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.

Addressing Climate Change and Agriculture

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.


SevaKasekor: Addressing Accessibility and Affordability of Agricultural Machinery

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.

"To me, SevaKasekor Model through the Department of Agricultural Engineering is a great initiative that is aligned and has been envisioned by the department as it will benefit service providers, farmers who receive the service, and other relevant stakeholders within the agricultural machinery sub-sector from the service provision of agricultural machinery that is suitable and professional."
Mr. Chea Sovandina, Deputy Director, Department of Agricultural Engineering

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:

  • Financial discount scheme: Implementing a scheme that offers financial incentives to encourage investment in CA machinery service provisions.
  • Technical training and assistance: Providing comprehensive training and assistance to service providers to enhance their knowledge and skills regarding conservation agriculture machinery.
  • Progress monitoring and feedback: Maintaining close communication with different profiles and modalities of service providers to track their progress, gather feedback, and ensure continuous improvement in their investments related to CA machinery service provisions to smallholder farmers. The objective is to facilitate the transition to regenerative agriculture, improve farming systems, and generate increased income through the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices.

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

Sustainable agriculture
Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture 
The project promotes appropriate technologies and extension services for a sustainable intensification of agricultural production leading to reduced negative impacts on the environment including an improved soil health that allows smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and income.