02-04 November 2022: The ‘Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification Consortium (CASIC) 3rd Annual Regional Workshop: Regenerative Agriculture through Agroecology, Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization, Bio sequestration, and Water Management’ was successfully held from 2 to 4 November 2022 in Siem Reap and Battambang, Cambodia. The event was co-organized by the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia; Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN), Swisscontact, Agro-ecology and Safe Food System Transitions (ASSET) Project, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and NURTURE Project.
The workshop adopted a hybrid modality and was physically attended by over 80 participants from 13 countries in-person in addition to those joining virtually. The opening session was addressed by Dr. LI Yutong, Head of ESCAP-CSAM; Dr. Yoeu Asikin and Dr. Chan Saruth, Under-Secretaries of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia; and other speakers. The three-day workshop included thematic sessions on Conservation Agriculture/Sustainable Intensification (CA/SI) and agroecology covering topics like successful cases and good practices of government coordination bodies and enabling policies in the region; research for development; adoption of formal education system; dissemination of knowledge through institutional extension models; private sector involvement; and transition financing. Various experts and practitioners from Cambodia and other countries in the region shared their knowledge and experiences. The thematic sessions were complemented with a field visit to the Conservation Agriculture Service Centre (CASC) in Battambang which demonstrated how CA/SI inputs such as cover crops, water management, and machinery technologies are being applied in different commercial farm plots.
In her opening remarks, Dr. LI Yutong, Head of ESCAP-CSAM, referred to the Food Systems Summit convened by the United Nations Secretary General in 2021 and said “Conservation Agriculture and Regenerative Agriculture are valuable approaches to sustainable intensification that can help the agricultural sector in the Asia-Pacific region enhance soil health, cope with climate impacts, benefit resource-poor smallholder farmers and enable the transition to a trajectory of low-carbon growth”. She also underscored that agricultural machinery has an important role in promoting sustainable intensification, for example, in implementing no or minimum soil disturbance and integrated management of crop residue as part of Conservation Agriculture.
The 3rd CASIC Annual Regional Workshop represented continuation of CSAM’s ongoing collaboration with partners in Cambodia to boost CA/SI in the region. In 2018, CSAM had joined hands with the partners to co-organize the ‘Regional Workshop on the Role of Mechanization in Strengthening Smallholders’ Resilience through Conservation Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific’ in Phnom Penh, while in 2019, the partnership led to co-organization of a regional training on appropriate-scale mechanization. In 2021, the 2nd CASIC Annual Regional Workshop was co-organized virtually.