Inception workshop marks the commencement of Straw Residue Management initiative 

Sustainable agriculture
On March 18th, 2022, the Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng) along with the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Swisscontact Cambodia successfully organized the inception workshop, in Kep province, of the “Enabling Sustainable and Climate-smart Agriculture in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Nepal Through Mechanization Solutions for Integrated Management of Straw Residue and Air Pollution Monitoring” project in Cambodia.

The project is implemented by the Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng) under the support of China-ESCAP Cooperation Programme in partnership with Swisscontact (ISA project).

"In the past, I have noticed and observed that the amount of rice we produce has increased significantly. Our farmers, especially in Traing district, face issues on straw management as they grow light seasonal rice (short term rice) two or three times a year, and so they do not have the time to allow it to decompose naturally nor the labor force/equipment to collect all the straw for their livestock. And so, the farmers are forced to burn the straw residue.[...] Responding to the above challenges, the Center for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) initiated this project on straw residue management and air pollution monitoring which will be implemented by the Department of Agricultural Engineering and coordinated by Swisscontact and the Takeo Provincial Department of Agriculture and Forestry."
Mr. Koeut Kiteneat, Deputy General Director of General Directorate of Agriculture in his opening remarks stated. 

Burning of straw (crop residue or stubble left on the field after harvesting) is a common concern in many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Due to lack of low-cost, effective, and technically feasible approaches to utilize straw, farmers frequently burn the straw in the field causing serious environmental and health problems, including from trans-boundary air pollution. Apart from accelerated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions and air pollution via release of particulate matter in the atmosphere, straw burning leads to loss of soil carbon and micro-nutrients while adversely affecting soil temperature, pH, moisture, and organic matter.

In Cambodia the project aims to establish a pilot site to conduct field trials to test and adapt the technologies and practices at the same time work on capacity enhancement through awareness and demonstration sessions for farming community, with particular emphasis on engaging women farmers.

"The objective is to test, adapt and demonstrate agricultural machinery-based solutions for integrated management of straw residue. We are very happy to have as our partners the Department of Agricultural Engineering of the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), and Swisscontact. With the strong support of Mr. Ngin Kosal, Mr. Rajiv Pradhan and their respective teams, the field activities have been initiated.[...] With the wisdom, insights and knowledge as well as the contribution and support of all the partners here, I am confident that this pilot initiative on ‘Enabling Sustainable and Climate-smart Agriculture in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Nepal Through Mechanization Solutions for Integrated Management of Straw Residue and Air Pollution Monitoring’ will produce practical, impactful and sustainable outcomes suitable for the local context here in Cambodia."
Dr. Yutong Li, Head of CSAM reiterated 

The Inception Workshop aimed to show the importance of Straw Residue Management through agricultural mechanization solutions and to kick off the pilot activities with local stakeholders to ensure the implementation of Straw Residue Management practices for sustainability.

"Through this project, we hope that there will be a good cooperation between the relevant implementers such as Takeo Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, agriculture corporative, farmers, territorial authority, private sector and other stakeholders to participate in learning about straw management technologies and to integrate agricultural machineries into agricultural production that contribute to environmental protection and promote the use of technology as a model for other locations throughout Cambodia in order to reduce greenhouse gas emission from agriculture."
Mr. Ngin Kosal, Director of Department of Agricultural Engineering  in this welcome remark stated.

The event was attended by 50 local stakeholders under the honorable participation of Mr. Koeut Kittineath, Deputy General Director of General Directorate of Agriculture, Mr. Ngin Kosal Director of Department of Agricultural Engineering, and the honorable online participation of Dr. Li Yutong Head of CSAM, Mr. Matthew Perkins Representative from ESCAP and Mr. Oum Kosal Representative from FAO.

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). 

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.