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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification

Women in Agriculture Network (WAgN) Cambodia: Gender- and Ecologically-Sensitive Agriculture

Lead Institution: Pennsylvania State University
Award Amount: $1,000,000
Focus Country: Cambodia


Principal Investigator: Ricky M. Bates - rmb30@psu.edu
U.S. Collaborating Institution: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA)
International Collaborating Institution(s): Agricultural Development Denmark Asia (ADDA), World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), Asia Impact Center - ECHO, Kasetsart University, Royal University of Agriculture, Conservation Agriculture Service Center, University of Battambang

Summary: The WAgN Cambodia project aims to empower women and improve nutrition by promoting women’s participation in the value chains for horticultural crops and rice produced through sustainable intensification (SI) practices. The overarching goal of the project is to provide a scientifically rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the nexus of gender and SI. This will enable us to develop, inform and deploy synergistic programs to enhance women’s status and advance SI. We aspire to improve the socioeconomic and nutritional status of women and their families as well as identify, develop and strengthen existing and potential SI technologies, practices and policies that promote production of nutritious and marketable food while protecting agroecological resources. The project will pursue three major objectives:

  1. To identify and promote adoption of gender-sensitive SI technologies and practices in rice and horticulture value chains targeted to improve ecological resilience as well as the nutritional status and income for poor households.
  2. To identify and foster enabling conditions and social networks for women to fully participate in the local, regional and international value chains for horticultural and rice-based foods produced via SI.
  3. To build capacity in local agricultural institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and international universities and research institutes, to broaden the span of innovations in gender and ecologically sensitive SI. 

The project will promote gender equity and family nutrition by understanding and breaking down the barriers to women’s participation in the value chains for SI. We contend that horticultural and other foods produced by smallholder farmers via SI are produced and distributed through value chains that can be exploited to create new opportunities for women and improve the nutrition of their families. Our project stresses the importance of markets and will forward efforts to move Cambodian agriculture towards a market-driven system.

2018 Progress Updates

  • In collaboration with the World Vegetable Center (Siem Reap) and the UBB, eggplant rootstocks tolerant to key diseases common to Cambodia were screened and selected for grating in tomato. Three eggplant rootstock obtained from World Veg. in Taiwan, and one local Battambang province landrace were selected along with four market-demanded tomato varieties. These are currently being tested in field conditions.

  • In collaboration with the World Vegetable Center, rainy-season and dry-season market surveys were conducted in Siem Reap province to document key information regarding the presence of wild food plants in local produce markets. Individual and group farmer interviews were also conducted to document various aspects of this important food production system

  • WAgN planned, developed and conducted an intensive 5-day training in Thailand focused on human and institutional capacity building of CE SAIN and the development of a framework for demonstrating and extending promising SI technologies and practices.

  • Research documenting soil improvement in conservation agriculture vs conventional tillage systems experiments were conducted on farmers vegetable production plots managed under both systems.

  • Project Leaders conducted group interviews on farms in Siem Reap and Battambang to investigate and assess the gendered division of labor and access to leadership roles. 

  • Engaged with the CE SAIN Technology Parks to provide technical training to farm managers and prepare the parks for demonstrations of SI technologies and practices.