Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On-farm research trials ramped up in Cambodia to reduce pesticide use in rice farming

Participants discuss and chart the next steps in conducting adaptive research on integrated pest management in Cambodia.

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—A project led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Cambodia is set to conduct on-farm research to develop site-specific, environment-friendly integrated pest management (IPM) packages for the country’s rice farmers.

The project, EPIC (Development of ecologically-based, participatory IPM package for rice in Cambodia), has ramped up its plans to conduct adaptive and participatory research on IPM to help Cambodian rice farmers reduce their use of chemical pesticides. The plans, along with forming regional- and provincial-based learning alliances and target-specific communication initiatives, were announced during the annual meeting and workshop of the EPIC project on 1-2 December.

“Several pests and diseases in rice production have been causing significant yield losses,” said H.E. Hean Vanhan, director general of the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. “Over the last decade, farmers mainly relied on chemical pesticides as a major method to control rice pests and diseases. The immediate goals of EPIC are to contribute to the improvement of farmers’ livelihoods, which is in line with the policy of the Royal Government of Cambodia.”

 “Adaptive research will take a prominent role in the work that EPIC project will do,” said Dr. Sang Lee, representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Cambodia. “This is critical to be able to fine-tune, adjust, and perhaps even change course to address the complex ecological solution that the IPM program plans to address.” The EPIC project is supported by USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative.

Workshop participants shared and discussed the initial results of survey activities and field trials conducted in Prey Veng, Battambang, Takeo, and Kampong Thom Provinces. Sessions were conducted to map out future initiatives on forming learning alliances, conduct of adaptive research, and information dissemination and capacity enhancement.

“We are reviewing what has been done in the past year in partnership with GDA and the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) so we can chart the next direction of the project in Cambodia,” said Dr. Buyung Hadi, IRRI entomologist and EPIC project coordinator.

Dr. Seng Vang, Deputy Director General CARDI, also shared that these initial achievements would not have been possible without the all-out support and cooperation of other partners.

More than 50 participants attended the meeting including representatives from GDA, CARDI, the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Virginia Tech, Cornell University, and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Battambang, Prey Veng, Takeo, and Kampong Thom.

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