Getting together on 'on-farm' trials
On 21 March 2014, SNV and partners held a half-day dialogue at the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) to discuss the outcomes of scientific fertilizer trials and how to make them work for farmers and help the environment. Even slight mistakes in the use of fertilizers can mean that farmers don’t get the yields they could, impacting on their potential income. There are also effects on the environment too.
The SNV-supported research trials in 2013 and 2014 therefore cover a number of aspects: from finding out the appropriate nutrient consumption for rice plants; to protecting soil fertility for sustainable soil nutrient management; and providing ideas for better water resource management. Better use of fertilizers can also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Objectives at the workshop were to:
- Orient the fertilizer on-farm trial approach with relevant agencies to discover their opinions and attract their interest and ideas;
- Share the results of the fertilizer on-farm trials in Takeo and Prey Veng provinces, especially the impact on rice plants;
- Provide recommendations on optimum fertilizer use for the Prateshlang soil class; and
- Promote the optimum fertilizer rate.
The actual fertilizer on-farm trials were conducted by 15 RUA students in Takeo and Prey Veng provinces, with support from SNV and technical assistance from CARDI and the GDA.
The outcomes of the dialogue were:
- There was great interest expressed in integrating the on-farm trials into the existing Project for Agricultural Development and Economic Empowerment (PADEE - implemented by MAFF, and financed by IFAD, with SNV as a co-implementer);
- The participants said that more trials should be conducted, using the same protocols to verify and validate the initial findings;
- RUA will take future trials out of their test station and conduct them in the field to truly see how the fertilizer works in real life;
- SNV and CARDI will further cooperate with the Provincial Department of Agriculture to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are involved in the trials process;
- Participants said field trials should not only focus on fertilizer, and wanted various trials to be conducted with natural manure, bio slurry or a combination of fertilizer and manure.
Under the Climate Smart Agriculture project, SNV has partnered with the RUA in conducting fertilizer on-farm trials in Takeo and Prey Veng provinces. The objective is to validate the recommended fertilizer rates provided by CARDI; and to share knowledge about appropriate fertilizer use for rice plantations.
The activity brought together the General Directorate of Agriculture (GDA) Department of Rice Plants, the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), and was supervised by RUA academics. The participants also included national and provincial level representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).