Cambodia’s agriculture sector is one of the main engines for economic growth and poverty reduction in the country. In recent decades, however, agricultural intensification has destroyed its natural assets, resulting in soil degradation. Farmers increasingly face low and declining productivity and income. The Cambodian agriculture sector needs to shift from production through land expansion and excessive use of inputs towards sustainable intensification.
The project, along with its partners, also provides capacity building and technical support to the government at national and local level to establish a public-private agricultural extension model. Furthermore, to promote sustainable agricultural technologies, partnerships with small agribusiness companies are established in order to develop and expand their business activities.
One challenge hindering the wide adoption of sustainable agricultural practices is the lack of technical human resources. Swisscontact has thus supported the Royal University of Agriculture to develop a standard internship programme via the InGuider model. It allows agricultural engineering students to increase their employability, and the private sector benefits from a skilled labour force. It is planned that in total 62 students (30% women) complete the internship programme.
Mr. Chhoem Chhengven, Class of 2019, Faculty of Agriculture Engineering (FAE), former intern at Larano Agricultural Manufacture and
Ms. Chan Soma, Class of 2020, Faculty of Agriculture Engineering (FAE), former intern at the Conservation Agriculture Service Center (CASC)
Chhoem Chhengven: I learned about working directly with the private companies, applying all the theories I studied at the university. This includes understanding the operational plan of the company, the market of agricultural products, and the customers’ needs and milestones in the company itself.
Chan Soma: I have gained a lot of knowledge related to conservation agriculture farming techniques, the use of agricultural machinery on cultivation and the process of seed germination test, pest control, and hosting a field visit for key relevant actors to promote sustainable agriculture.
Chhoem Chhengven: Skills that I have learned which are important for me to use in the future include communication skills, business management, and the foundation skills in the production of agricultural machinery.
Chan Soma: The skills that will be able to help my work in future are administration skills, project management and sustainable farming techniques, as they are key for every institution.
Chhoem Chhengven: I really want students of Agricultural Engineering to have the opportunity to practice at various related private companies. The internship experience helps to train students to adapt and be prepared for the employment opportunities by applying the important skills into actual practices.
Chan Soma: I would like to recommend other agriculture engineering students to participate in the internship because it is the additional and practical learning platform to our studies that can help us to gain new working experience, understanding clear job responsibilities and ideas.
This project is financed by Happel Foundation, Symphasis, and Marcuard Family Office, 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).