The recent launch of the Agroecology and Safe Food System Transitions in Southeast Asia (ASSET) is a reflection of the evolution of Cambodian agriculture towards ecological principles that will be more environmentally friendly and produce safe foods, which ensures agricultural land remains sustainable, said a senior official.

Kith Viseth Kanha – deputy head of the General Department of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – was addressing a May 5 meeting of the committee which implements the ASSET programme. The committee includes participation from several civil society organisations (CSO), among them GRET, the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC), Swisscontact, UNI4Coop and the Agroecology Learning alliance in South East Asia (ALiSEA).

ASSET is a regional project involving Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. The project is scheduled to run from January 2021 to September 2025. It aims to promote the sustainability of agriculture and the food system through the dissemination of agro-ecological practices to stakeholders, including farmers, agricultural cooperatives, CSOs, the private sector and agricultural science researchers.

The General Department of Agriculture quoted Viseth Kanha as saying that the government adopted the National Agriculture Development Policy 2022-2030 in September last year, on the basis of its vision of modernising agriculture competitively and inclusively, with climate change resilience and sustainability.

“The agriculture ministry has updated its Strategic Plan for Adapting to Climate Change in Agriculture 2022-2030. This demonstrates the close attention that the government pays to agricultural reforms, and the strengthening of agricultural adaptation, particularly when it comes to crop production which is affected by climate change,” she added.

She requested that all parties continue to monitor field work on a regular basis as well as share information and experience gained from the project.

GRET official Pat Sovann told The Post on May 8 that the project is implemented through several activities. These include strengthening partnership with ALiSEA to promote the implementation of agro-ecology, development, strategic plans, as well as on-the-ground experimentation and research in Preah Vihear province’s Rovieng district, which focuses on cassava, rice and cashews cultivation, and cattle raising.

“We also implemented the development of an E-MON information management system to monitor and evaluate project results, initiatives and develop local and national agro-ecological policy discussions, as well as support the implementation of the Strategic Development Plan 2022-2026 of the Cambodian Conservation Agriculture Research for Development Centre [CARDEC],” he said.