Conservation Agriculture Service with a Fee (CASF) is a project that aims to implement a Conservation Agricultural Production Systems (CAPS) into Cambodian farming practices and cropping system. Conservation agriculture (CA) is a farming system that maintains a permanent soil cover to ensure its protection, avoids soil tillage, and cultivates a diverse range of plant species to improve soil conditions, reduce land degradation and increase water and nutrient use efficiency. CA is a part of the Sustainable Agriculture and Intensification systems. Shifting to innovative cropping systems and practices based on Conservation Agriculture (CA) principles will result in improved soil fertility, reduced labor, conserved water, increased yield and significantly increased income for smallholder farmers.
The main goal of this three-year project is to empower private entrepreneurs, agricultural machinery manufacturers and importers, agribusiness retailers and service providers, smallholder farmers, and public institutions to shift from conventional soil degrading agricultural production systems to profitable soil and ecosystem enhancing CAPS.
The specific objectives are to:
Swisscontact is partnering with CASF under the MIGIP project and will play the crucial role of engaging private sector in the CASF project.
Swisscontact’s CASF project activities include:
Identify and analyze the incentives of the different private actors (farmers and service providers).
Using Swisscontact’s Inclusive Markets (IM) Approach, the technical approach used in Swisscontact projects, the project team will map the current and potential actors that can provide CA services and the nature of their relationships with the target group of smallholder farmers. Mapping the various actors will also generate insight into current and potential flows of money and transactions as well as actors’ key motivations and incentives. With a comprehensive understanding and analysis of actors’ relationships, incentives, and capacities, including why some actors are not initiating changes on their own, it will be possible to identify which actors are more likely to buy-in and what their incentives are for investing in CAPS.
Propose a solution (business model) that will bring in more buy-in from the different private actors.
Swisscontact will develop a well-informed business model that illustrates how CAPS will work for the target group, lead to greater inclusion and achieve broader-scale market development for seeder drill technology in Cambodia. A solid business model will encourage business thinking and provide a clear picture on how CAPS is envisioned. The business model will also enable actors and stakeholders to not only visualize the profit from investing in CAPS, but also see the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Understanding these aspects will help to incentivize businesses to include women and other excluded groups as suppliers, employees or consumers.
Elaborate the business models for the CAPS interventions and support business deals with actors.
Swisscontact will actively support business deals, particularly negotiations with the private sector. Swisscontact’s expertise at engaging with the private sector will help to establish and strengthen goods and services required for CAPS to function more effectively for the target group. A workable business model is the key to the sustainability of services. Swisscontact will meet and speak with machinery importers, No-Till (NT) planter manufacturers, and machinery service providers to design tailored business models for each actor. The business model will then facilitate project deals as well as a partnership agreement based on the deals.
Provide orientation to the key project staff on Market Systems Development
Swisscontact will provide training on systems thinking to the CAPS team so they are aware of the actors and how to approach and work with them. The training will also cover the meaning of private sector engagement in relation to the project. Swisscontact will run a five-day orientation course for key project team members.
Monitor the progress and suggest corrective measures.
The key to success of any intervention is the flexibility of adapting activities to the behavioral changes of the partners. Since the success of CA adoption depends on the success of the business model, it is important to closely monitor behavioral changes of system actors. Swisscontact will be communicating regularly with private sector partners to: check the effectiveness of the business model; gauge behavioral changes in the partner (through tools developed by Swisscontact); discuss any ‘pain’ points; and, identify changes in activities. Essential changes that are identified will be communicated to the project team to ensure these changes are implemented. Swisscontact will also record all changes to serve as a basis of learning within the project.
Provide strategic advice
Swisscontact, following its IM approach, will compile project activities into Intervention Plans (IPs). These IPs form part of the strategic project document. Regular monitoring of project activities, particularly the service provision business model, will ensure Swisscontact better understands the market and can identify course correction measures for the interventions. Course corrections will be incorporated into the IPs, which will ensure Swisscontact provides strategic advice to the project.
In the first year, 16 service providers will be introduced to CAPS, five of which will invest in developing the ‘CAPS machinery service with a fee’ for farmers.
During the three years of the project, 1450 households will benefit directly from this project, of which 1150 farmers will be trained in CAPS method. At the same time, 2,400 ha of conventional tilled land will be converted to no tillage with 900 ha practicing cover crops under CA technology.
During the project period, five student interns will be trained as CAPS extension agents, eight field operators will be trained as CAPS service providers, and fifteen farmers will be trained to produce cover crop seeds, annually.
One partnership agreement signed between Swisscontact and local importers to bring in a container full of seven No-Till (NT) Planters from Brazil. This can be considered the first commercial consignment of this size in Cambodia.