Partnership Agreement Signed to Develop Agriculture Research Station Roadmap Plan

Sustainable agriculture
A tripartite Partnership Agreement was signed by the Department of Agricultural Land Resources Management (DALRM), General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA), Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Swisscontact and CIRAD to jointly collaborate on developing Bos Khnor Conservation Agriculture Research Station’s 5-year Roadmap Plan (2020-2025) on July 27 at GDA.

Speaking during the Partnership Agreement Signing Ceremony, Mr. Ho Puthea, Deputy Director of GDA emphasized that the establishment of legal document such as the roadmap is an essential step to ensure the recognition of previous activities and investments both from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the development partners, and to move towards the establishment of a national and regional centre on CA and Agroecology.

The collaboration aims to build a strategic document, which will serve as  foundation for the improvement of Bos Khnor Research Station and which will contribute to the realization of some goals of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Agriculture Sector’s Master Plan 2030, especially in the fields of Soil Restoration, Conservation Agriculture (CA), Sustainable Intensification and Agroecology development.

Dr. Seng Vang, Director of DALRM, emphasized that the station comprises the oldest experiments on CA in the region. He also highlighted that following the regional training on ‘Appropriate-scale Mechanization for Conservation Agriculture’ co-organized with UNESCAP/CSAM in May 2019, and that brought together 17 countries from Asia and Pacific, there was a need to leverage Bos Khnor and to ensure an institutionalization process with the support from MAFF. In May 2020, a working group was established within GDA/DALRM to design the 5 years roadmap.

Since 2004, the Bos Khnor Research Station, consisting of 14.5 ha of land, comprises the oldest experiments under CA in the South-East Asia and has been dedicated to demonstrations, germplasm preservation, seed production, test of appropriate-scale mechanization, and awareness raising through field days and training.  Activities are implemented by the Department of Agricultural Land Resources Management (GDA/DALRM) and the team from the Conservation Agriculture Service Center (CASC), CIRAD, in partnership with the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (RUA/CE SAIN) and Swisscontact. This important station is envisioned to become a training centre for conservation agriculture in the region and beyond.

Aerial and field views of Bos Khnor Conservation Agriculture Research Station, Chamka Leu district, Kampong Cham province

Dr. Florent Tivet said that CIRAD has been involved with GDA and DALRM in the field of Conservation Agriculture for more than 15 years with activities in Bos Khnor and on main agroecosystems of the country. During that period a large range of CA-based cropping systems have been designed and assessed with a rich scientific production by its key partners. Among a range of activities, he emphasized the key asset represented by the genetic bank of cover crops that is among the largest in the region and that need to be preserved and shared. He also stressed that through this partnership agreement the connections between Bos Khnor and the provincial level have to be strengthened to match with the on-going decentralization process.

Swisscontact and CIRAD are committed to provide technical and partial financial support to GDA/DALRM in developing and disseminating the roadmap plan to relevant stakeholders.

Mr. Rajiv Pradhan, Swisscontact Cambodia Country Director, said the efforts in commercialization of agriculture technologies, under the Mekong Inclusive Growth and Innovation Programme (MIGIP) that is partly funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact,  will be anchored through this partnership. As Cambodia advances towards Industry 4.0, technology commercialization, particularly technologies around sustainable agriculture, will also be an important aspect of the roadmap. He also highlighted that Swisscontact was excited to be working closely with the research organizations in Cambodia that helps to build up the private sector engagement in technology commercialization.

Bos Khnor’s 5-year Roadmap Plan will serve as the guidance document for the development and improvement of Bos Khnor Research Station in the next 5 years.