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Cambodia’s National Integrated Pest Management Program at 25: Alive and Kicking

04/11/2019

From October 28 to 29, the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) is convening the National Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Forum, with technical and funding supports from #IRRI#USAID, and #FAO.

This year the National Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program celebrates its successful achievements resulting from 25 years of efforts in support of quality education for smallholder farmers. The journey started in post-conflict Cambodia in 1993 when the Royal Government of Cambodia started up a rice intensification program with support of the International Rice Research Institute and FAO and wanting to make sure that farmers learn about growing newly introduced high-yielding rice varieties without ending up in the treadmill of ever-increased pesticide use as elsewhere observed in Asia during the Green Revolution.

And what a journey it has been! From its humble origins in promoting IPM in rice paddy fields in selected districts and provinces, now, 25 years on, the National Program, with the support of numerous resource partners, covers IPM and Farmers Field Schools training in a variety of different crops while supporting integrated farming systems for sustainable intensification of agriculture in close to 20 provinces nationwide. Recently published scientific studies and field practice confirm that IPM remains the most effective strategy to keep pest populations in check while reducing pesticide use and raising on-farm productivity and rural incomes.

To celebrate these remarkable achievements and with IRRI and FAO support, the General Directorate of Agriculture and its National IPM Program convened a National Forum on IPM and Food Safety in Siem Reap on 28-29 October 2019. Some 180 IPM facilitators, both farmers and government staff, from 20 provinces and representatives from national government participate in the forum. Participants endorsed the continued relevance of IPM and Farmers Field Schools for contemporary rural development and spelled out concrete actions for the Way Forward, including the needs to mobilize resources for rejuvenation of the facilitator network and for expansion of farmer training activities in support of sustainable intensification of crop production and food safety along the entire agri-food chain.

The Forum also recalled and acknowledged the many contributions of Cambodia’s National IPM Program in support of FAO’s 30 years of effort to steer evolution and global expansion of Farmers Field Schools. In particular, the Farmer Life School, now also widely applied for improving education of rural youth and combatting child labor on the African continent, had its roots in pioneering community social and health education efforts, including for HIV/AIDS, in rural communities in Cambodia in the early 2000s. Now 30 years on since the development of the first Farmers Field Schools in Indonesia in 1989, it is worth remembering the many contributions made by the Cambodia National IPM Program to FAO’s global success in development and scaling out of the Farmers Field Schools, now practiced in over 90 countries across the globe.

 

For further information on the 25 years of Cambodia’s National IPM Program: