The demand creation meetings were organized in Rovieng District Preah Vihear Province from March 9th until the 11th and in Ratanak Mondul and Sampov Districts in Battambang on March 16th, 25th and 30th continuing until early April. The Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), Centre de coopération internationale en recherche (CIRAD), Kansas State University and Swisscontact also supported PDAFF in organizing the event along with the technical support from projects such as ASSET and WAT4CAM.
The objective of the demand creation meeting events is to introduce potential farmers (or agricultural cooperatives) and service providers to Conservation Agriculture (CA) practices and technologies and explain CA to them in detail and to concretely understand their interests in adopting and investing in CA practices. The demand creation meetings pave the way for connecting supply (service providers) and demand (farmers) so that CA practices can be adopted and sustained.
She further mentioned that it was the first time that the PDAFF team implemented the model, and they could see that these promotional activities are effective. “When my team conducted the event, we could see the interests of farmers and their inquisitiveness towards CA. However, we still have limits to some of the products such as cover crops seeds. So, it would be great for farmers if more private companies who sell cover crop seeds able to engage and sell on spot.” said Ms Kimnay.
The event saw a growing participation of the private sector. Larano Workshop, SmartAgro, and RMA (John Deere tractors), were present at the event to showcase several CA implements and machineries including roller crimper, subsoiler, no-till planters for rice and maize and land leveler. This was the first time RMA had participated in the event and they showcased their tractors compatibility with CA implements. This interest from RMA also shows that there is a growing interest amongst private sector to be a part of the MetKasekor model.
The three-day demand creation meeting event in Preah Vihear attracted 135 attendees including farmers and service providers, out of which 45 were female farmers. In Battambang the demand creation meetings will be ongoing until early April, and so it is anticipated that 200 plus farmers and service providers will be in attendance.
Mr. Heng Hour, a 63-year-old farmer from Rovieng district in Preah Vihear who attended the demand creation event stated that he started practicing CA farming by incorporating cover crops when he was attending the demand creation meeting event in 2021 conducted by MetKasekor Technical Team. Through his experiences, the demand creation event that PDAFFs have conducted lately has led him to understand more on reducing cost and labors for his farming. “These events open access to new and sustainable technologies which is good for me as an old farmer because I am not able to use labor force for conventional farming. This practice of conservation agriculture also allows me to gain better soil quality due to the plantation of cover crops that act as organic fertilizer” says Mr. Hour. He further states that conservation agriculture will be the future of low cost and low labors practice for farmers and eventually farmers will also be able to increase productions.
This echoes with the growing interest of private sector and the ownership of the events by the PDAFF in Preah Vihear and Battambang.
MetKasekor is an innovative extension model that focuses on opening the market for private sector investments. The model is a government resource for the future with the intention to improve the public agricultural extension service system in Cambodia. MetKasekor pilot in Cambodia is supported by CE SAIN, CIRAD, Kansas State University and ISA project of Swisscontact.
The Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture project is financed by the Happel Foundation, the Symphasis Foundation, and the Leopold Bachmann Foundation among other donors. As part of the Swisscontact Development Programme, it is co-financed by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA).