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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cambodia (2021 Deadline)


Irrigation and nutrient management for improving smallholder vegetable production in Battambang

PI: Nareth Nut (nnareth@rua.edu.kh), Royal University of Agriculture
Co-PI: Soth Hong, Department of Agricultural Engineering, General Directorate of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries
Project Dates: June 2022 – September 2023

Project Overview
 
 C-02 Nareth Nut collecting plant parameters
 Team collecting plant parameters from the field experiment. Photo credit Nareth Nut
C-02 Nareth Nut training
AKPAC Training on Solar-powered Drip-Irrigation. Photo credit Nareth Nut
Ang Kamping Puoy Agricultural Cooperative (AKPAC) is located in a rural area facing persistent water shortages, particularly in the dry season, which has caused poor agricultural productivity. This PEER project aimed to promote sustainable agriculture practices in the community and learn more about managing applied nutrients and irrigation properly on the vegetable crops in Battambang Province, Cambodia. Through the project implementation, a series of training workshops and education related to sustainable agriculture were introduced in the AKPAC community. The project team conducted a workshop on irrigation management through drip irrigation and maintenance to inform farmers of the latest techniques for managing irrigation properly. Irrigation based on actual crop water needs is very important, particularly in the context of water deficit and climate change.

The use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers is common, and as the AKPAC community is located upstream of the Ang Kamping Puoy Reservoir, education on sustainable agriculture to the farmers in the community is very important to reduce the environmental impacts of agricultural farming practices and minimize contaminants in the water in the reservoir.

The researchers tested conservation agriculture methods and small drip irrigation in the community, collecting data to understand crop growth and nutrient leakage in the system. This research was jointly conducted by the PI’s students and community members to enable the community to learn more about the process of scientific research.

Final Summary of Project Activities

The researchers established experimental plots of cherry tomatoes and white cabbage in an open field near the community leader’s home, testing both conservation agriculture and conventional tillage methods. Shortly after initial data collection from the experimental plots, however, severe flooding in the area destroyed the plants. In early 2023, the PI and team restarted the experimental plots for cherry tomato cultivation. They were able to collect soil samples to analyze for soil organic carbon matter, as well as crop data like stem height, diameter, shoot length, number of shoots and branches, and yield.

The PEER team hosted a series of training and education workshops related to sustainable agriculture in the AKPAC community, including one on crop irrigation, maintenance, and specific crop water needs. The team made recommendations regarding the most efficient irrigation amounts for some popular crops grown in the community, helping farmers to save irrigation water and diesel used for the water pumps. Other workshops taught farmers how to make compost and environmentally friendly pesticide alternatives, including safety instructions on preventing pesticide contamination. Farmers were advised to produce bio-fertilizers and pesticide alternatives to apply to their crops instead of using chemicals to help save the environment, protect people’s health, and save money.

The AKPAC community has shared the knowledge and experiences they’ve learned as part of the project with other communities in Battambang, particularly Kantueu Pir Agricultural Cooperative (KPAC). The team members demonstrated the irrigation system to high school students and teachers visiting the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering at the Royal University of Agriculture. This project also supported the research and thesis work of two female students on the team.

Publication

Taingaun Sourn, Sophak Pok, Phanith Chou, Nareth Nut, Dyna Theng, and PV Vara Prasad. 2022. Assessment of land use and land cover changes on soil erosion using remote sensing, GIS and RUSLE model: a case study of Battambang Province, Cambodia. Sustainability 14(7): 4066. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074066



 C-02 Nareth Nut collecting dataC-02 Nareth Nut interviewing 
Collecting plant parameters from the field experiment ´╗┐Interviewing AKPAC members. Photo credit Nareth Nut
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