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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 30, 2020

Establishment of New Ministry-Led Consortium on Conservation Agriculture in Cambodia through K-State Partnership

Submitted by Layne Wilson

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has officially approved the formation of a new consortium on Cambodia Conservation Agriculture and Sustainable Intensification (CASIC).

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab on Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) in collaboration with multiple organizations were instrumental in creation and the launch of CASIC. The SIIL was established at Kansas State University through funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to lead research, outreach and human and institutional capacity building activities related to sustainable agricultural intensification around the world. The SIIL engaged in a co-creation process to develop the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in partnership with researchers, policy makers, donors, private sector and practitioners in Cambodia. The CE SAIN helps to enhance the human and institutional capacity of RUA, and coordinate activities of Feed the Future Innovation Labs along with other programs funded by USAID in Cambodia.

“The establishment and launch of CASIC, supported multiple ministries of Cambodia, is a great example of the value and strength in collaborative partnerships,” said Vara Prasad, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agronomy and the Director of the SIIL. “Ownership, leadership and support by the Royal Government of Cambodia and RUA is the first step toward the pathway of journey for self-resilience, which is the key goal of the Feed the Future program of USAID. Such endeavors ensure the sustainability of the programs.”

Cambodia’s agriculture has many challenges such as vulnerability to climate change, soil degradation and loss of biodiversity. At the same time, it has issues related to food insecurity, poverty and hunger. Therefore, conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification are necessary to meet the growing need and access for safe and nutritious food while improving the natural resources and protecting environment.

“Partnership with Kansas State University has significantly strengthened the capacity of RUA and Cambodia on education, research and extension on conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification,” said Bunthan Ngo, Rector of RUA.

Lyda Hok, Director of CE SAIN said, “We are very grateful to KSU for their excellent partnership and RUA is leading the effort to transform the agri-food systems in Cambodia.”

CASIC is a multi-stakeholder consortium that consists of several organizations, such as K-State, who have the motivation and drive to come together and meet on a regular basis to discuss the promotion of sustainable intensification practices in Cambodia. The mission of CASIC is to establish knowledge management of conservation agriculture related resources for easy access by smallholder farmers, semi-commercial farmers, and agricultural cooperatives; create an enabling environment to boost investment in conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification; promote and enhance these practices and enhance collaboration between stakeholders.

“With this initiative focused on conservation agriculture and sustainable intensification, Cambodia will become the leader and be an example for other countries in Southeast Asia,” said Manny Reyes, SIIL Research Professor and CE SAIN coordinator. “Particularly with the engagement of youth and young leaders—it is possible to lead the way for a great future to feed our people and protect our planet.”

CASIC is a result of the untiring efforts of the various organizations who are represented on the executive board, including K-State. Prasad said the launching of this consortium shows the great collaboration between the USAID and other international partners, and how K-State was instrumental in cultivating the collaborative relationships between RUA-CE SAIN and other partners in Cambodia.

Prasad said this initiative is one that K-State is proud to be part of and considers it a privilege to work alongside other partners and policy makers in developing this consortium in Cambodia. He says there will be continued effort to support RUA, CE SAIN and all other partners.

SIIL is one of the largest Feed the Future Innovation Labs at K-State that are funded by the USAID. The SIIL works to identify innovations that helps in reducing global hunger, poverty and improving the nutrition of smallholder farmers across the globe.

To find more information about RUA, CE SAIN and CASIC, please visit http://www.cesain.org/.