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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
In order to support poor farmers and their families, technical and material assistance is needed for improvement of food production and for sustainability of community development in rural areas. The farmers who receive input/material and training in sustainable agriculture, especially integrated farming system will be able to provide a better future for their children through improved household nutrition and income. They will be empowered and will gain dignity and identity in the community. Through the project implementation, materials and training support will be provided to community members of “Ang Kampingpuoy Agricultural Cooperative.” This community is located in a rural area facing persistent water shortage, particularly in the dry season, which has caused poor agricultural productivity. To test a solution for this program, the PI and his team will install a small drip irrigation system for vegetable production in the field of a selected community member. The field experiment will be divided into two plots: one plot using conservation agriculture and one plot using conventional tillage/farming. Soil Solution Assess Tube will be placed in both experimental plots with different depths to collect nutrient leaching from the crop fields. The collected soil-water samples will be done three to four times per month depending on kinds of crops, and those collected samples will be analyzed in the laboratories of the Royal University of Agriculture.

The collection of data on crop growth and nutrient leakage from the experimental fields will be jointly conducted by the PI’s students and community members so the community will learn more about the the process of scientific research. The data and results from the field trials will be analyzed, along with data on household incomes from the different crop management practices, and the findings will be presented to farmers and other community members to illustrate the differences between the various agricultural management practices. In addition, the PI and his team will also present technical training and a workshop on (i) crop water requirement and nutrient management and (2) water management with drip irrigation. The community members who participate will learn how to calculate or estimate crop water needs and nutrient requirements and how to install drip irrigation. The training materials and manuals will be shared so the participants will be able to train other community members.

Project updates

During the reporting period from October to December 2022, the flooding still continued to affect the experimental trials. As a result, the crops were completely destroyed, and the community leader could not restart crop planting during this period. Instead, the project team has been developing training materials in order to conduct training of the community members in the upcoming year. Furthermore, a questionnaire survey is also being developed and will be used to survey the community members of “Ang Kampingpuoy Agricultural Cooperative” to assess their agricultural practices (such as water and nutrient management and utilization, and constraints in agricultural development) towards sustainable agricultural practices in the community, especially crop production improvement. Additional tools, including augers, to support the soil data collection and suction tube installation to collect the soil-water data to analyze nutrient leaching from the experimental fields were  purchased while the PI was visiting Kansas State University (KSU), USA during  September 28- October 28 2022 period.

On December 1, 2022, the PI and his team presented posters about the results of the previous PEER project and other related work on prevention of soil erosion through conservation agriculture practices during the visit of the minister and delegates from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to the Royal University of Agriculture. Moreover, on December 08, 2022, the project team members demonstrated the irrigation system during the visit of high school students and teachers to the faculty of Agricultural Engineering, RUA.

Due to the damaged experimental plots, the team hopes  to conduct the experiment again in 2023. The PI and his team have been communicating with the community leader about when he will be able to start replanting the crops. The community training is anticipated to be conducted during March-April period.  


 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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