Tuesday, 18 March 2014

New films showcase ACIAR’s work in Cambodia

Researchers tell their story about helping vegetable, livestock and rice smallholder farmers in Cambodia through ACIAR projects in three short films just released.

Dr Suzie Newman with Mrs Sarong who has had great
success with some of the technologies that she’s introduced
in her cucumber crop (photo: Sally Ingleton)
Vegetables provide a new future for Cambodia
Dr Suzie Newman has been working with vegetable researchers and producers in an effort to build up the vegetable industry in Cambodia, which imports 40-60% of its vegetables.

The ACIAR project has been helping farmers overcome production constraints through simple techniques including pest, disease and weed control, irrigation and reducing post-harvest losses. 
Farmers can earn 3-4 times the income of growing rice through producing vegetables. A number of farmers who are benefiting from this work are featured in the film.

Forage grasses making a difference in Cambodia
Australian Livestock researcher Darryl Savage and his Cambodian counterparts have been introducing and testing forage grasses for livestock production. 
Darryl Savage with Cambodian collaborator and cattle
producers in Kampong Cham (photo: Sally Ingleton)

The green leaves are full of energy, protein, minerals and vitamins for the cattle. Cutting forage grasses also substantially reduces the time needed to graze cattle, meaning children who often tend to cattle can spend more time at school.

The technology, which has now spread to 20 provinces, is helping farmers increase their incomes and will also help Cambodia meet its demand for meat.

Climate change and Cambodian rice production
CSIRO researcher Dr Christian Roth and his Cambodian counterparts are helping rice farmers to adapt to a changing climate by building their understanding of the weather and ways they can adapt.
Smallholder farmers Sar Srei Pech and Cchem Saven are improving
their rice production through using pond water and a drum seeder
(photo: Sally Ingleton)
They are aiming to provide the farmers with a kind of tool kit from which they can choose different options to allow them to be more flexible. This could mean planting an extra crop of rice or using different planting methods. 

Farmers are also contending with reducing labour availability.  Adopting machinery such as drum seeders is significantly reducing their need for labour.

By Mandy Gyles, ACIAR Communications

More information
The three films were produced with ACIAR funding by award-winning film maker Sally Ingleton of 360 Degree Films, in collaboration with the Crawford Fund. They are available to view on ACIAR's YouTube site.

ACIAR Projects:
HORT/2006/107 Strengthening the Cambodian and Australian vegetable industries through adoption of improved production and postharvest practices, led by NSW Department of Primary Industries.

AH/2003/008 Improved feeding systems for more efficient beef cattle production in Cambodia, led by University of New England.

LWR/2008/019 Developing multi-scale climate change adaptation strategies for farming communities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Bangladesh and India, led by CSIRO.

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