Seeding the basis for better rice
The Syngenta Foundation (SFSA) and Mean Chey University (MCU) recently ran a large field day in northwest Cambodia. Local farmers were enthusiastic.
The farm demo formed part of the country’s Sustainable Intensification and Diversification (CamSID) program, financed by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
The field day took place in Battrong village, a center for rice seed production. Some 85 farmers and 45 MCU students participated. “Our aim was to share the results of CamSID work on direct rice seeding and high-quality seeds”, says SFSA Technical Advisor Dao Xuan Cuong. “Our Foundation strongly supports these initiatives”. Cuong has been closely involved for the past two years, working in particular on seed treatment and mechanized drum seeders.
Local farmer Chiv Sarith explained to demo participants how good soil preparation and direct seeding help him to reduce seeding rates. While saving costs, he has also improved yields.
“From early morning, the farmers got enthusiastically involved in the seeding techniques”, reports Cuong. “They also acknowledged the importance of high-quality seeds, appropriately treated.”
About the CamSID Program
The CamSID program began in November 2016 and is running for five years. It is focused on Banteay Meanchey, Battambang and Pursat provinces in northwestern Cambodia. Battambang and Banteay Meanchey were the biggest rice-producing counties in Cambodia and 27% of the moist seasonal rice output in the three regions.
The goals of the project are:
- Identify local socio-economic and agronomic trends, limitations and possibilities to increase and diversify sustainably;
- Establish participatory on-farm studies to test alternatives for sustainable intensification;
- Comparative assessment of various scaling models for sustainable intensification and diversification;
- Build the ability of local farming groups and instructional institutions in tertiary agriculture