Agriculture specialists urge all institutions working in the field to work together to encourage farmers to pursue smart farming practices. They said farmers should embrace new technologies, as it would improve their ability to compete at national and regional levels, while also responding to climate change.

Chou Chamroeun, director of the Rice Cultivation Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said the adoption of modern techniques would help farmers cope with changes in rainfall, unseasonal flooding or water shortages.

“Most of these problems are caused by human factors, and the best response to them is through improved management of soil and water resources,” he told The Post.

“Smart agriculture does not describe a single methodology – rather it is an integrated approach that draws from modern and traditional methods. It requires a climate change adaptation approach as well as a focus on seeds which can provide high yields and safe, organic fertilisers,” he added.

Integrated cropping, efficient water storage and soil management, and planting planned around the climate will all improve productivity and increase incomes, he noted.

Hou Kreun, deputy director of the NGO Helen Keller International Cambodia, said effective implementation of modern techniques would require significant amounts of training.

“The core values of smart agriculture are new concepts to the majority of traditional Cambodian farmers, so the benefits would need to be clearly explained to them,” he said.

Mak Soeun, deputy head of the ministry’s General Directorate of Agriculture, said officials are currently conducting a training programme which focuses on the application of smart farming techniques, in the context of climate change.

“These skills also increase food production among agricultural community members, meeting the food security, nutritional and income needs of many rural households,” he said.

The programme provides support in many smart farming techniques while changing nutritional attitudes. It provides a number of resources, including different seed varieties, organic fertilisers, solar panel and mesh shade houses.

“It will eventually encompass 100 farming communities, which will support 4,000 farming households,” said Soeun.