Mr. Phay Cheth
Organisation : Oxfam
Category : Civil Society Organization : NOG
Region : Asia and the Pacific
What are, or should be, the main characteristics of agroecological innovations ? (sentences or key words) : Women-Led Agriculture Service (WLAS) team --An innovative approach towards strengthening smallholder farmers’ access to agriculture extension services. It is a group of landless and small women farmers equipped with agriculture technique and skills to provide local technical service for farming including land leveling, land preparation, transplanting, harvesting, fertilizing, weeding, so on and so forth.
Why are these characteristics important for agroecological transitions to sustainable food systems ? : In Cambodia, small-scale farmers are facing the issue of low economic return from their rice farming because of low productivity and high input costs. The system of rice intensification (SRI) allows farmers to use less inputs. In dry areas, SRI could result in an average yield of 3.6 ton/ha, while under a similar situation the yield with traditional practice is only 2.4 ton/ha. Another critical issue that farmers are facing is labor shortage since the country’s economic conditions continue to force many men to migrate for work in the towns and cities. The Women-led Agriculture Service (WLAS) team is initiated to service the SRI farmers in their local community. The innovation focus on small-scale farmers who receive little or no agricultural extension support and grow rice using traditional methods (e.g. broadcasting seeds) and tend towards excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their farming. This practice leads to low productivity, environmental pollution, and even toxicity in rice production which impacts negatively on their health. The WLAS teams could address for the following: 1) labor shortage in Agriculture by filling the gap of labor shortage in local community in agriculture and farming, especially for small scale farmers and older farmers, 2) alternative support to landless/small holder farmers by helping support to landless/small farmers to get income for their families through quality service provision in agriculture, 3) absence of local female extension workers in agriculture by having more women to become extension service provider in agriculture in local community, and 4) uphold women dignity by raising their social status within community.