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K-State Today

October 26, 2021

K-State builds capacity of Cambodian scholars to lead agricultural research, outreach

Submitted by Layne Wilson

The Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition, or CE SAIN, marks its fifth anniversary this year, celebrating the positive impacts and contribution it has made to Cambodia's agriculture sector.

CE SAIN was established in 2016 by the Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab at Kansas State University. The center is housed in Cambodia's Royal University of Agriculture and funded by the United States Agency for International Development, through Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab. It works closely with Royal University of Agriculture to improve the skills and knowledge of public sector agricultural workers and foster growth in the private sector through agricultural research, educational training, and capacity building.

Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor and director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation lab, said that by working together with CE SAIN, they are training the next generation of scholars and leaders. He said the lab is looking forward to the next five years and beyond of the partnership with CE SAIN, Royal University of Agriculture and their partners.

"It has been an incredibly satisfying five years," Prasad said. "I was very nervous in the beginning, but then young scholars like Dr. Lyda Hok and the staff of CE SAIN, a strong commitment from the Royal University of Agriculture, guidance from USAID, and mentoring from the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab team made this journey both possible and worthwhile. CE SAIN is not just funding research and outreach; it is changing lives and the livelihoods of people in Cambodia. I thank Manny Reyes, research professor, and Jan Middendorf, associate director of the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, for their commitment and support."

Richard Chen, director of Sustainable Economic Growth Office of USAID Cambodia, expressed his admiration for CE SAIN's accomplishments and commitment to continue its support to the Center in the future.

"USAID is proud of our support to CE SAIN," Chen said. "It's excellent to see that CE SAIN has had such a great impact as well as outcomes. USAID looks forward to continuing our support to CE SAIN. Thank you to the CE SAIN team for the work over the last five years — you've inspired us to do even better for the future."

"As we celebrate this five-year milestone, we are blissful of the achievements," said Lyda Hok, director of CE SAIN. "We thank the USAID Mission in Cambodia for their strong support, the SIIL team for their great mentorship, and all of our wonderful partners and CE SAIN's good teamwork. We look forward to the next five years of our partnership."

During the first five years, CE SAIN collaborated with 26 U.S. institutions and established five technology parks that showcased 38 different technologies and welcomed more than 4,800 visitors. The center also supported 30 doctoral and master students at the Royal University of Agriculture and provided short-term training to 1,086 individuals. CE SAIN began with only 10 staff members in 2016. Today, it has a total of 34 staff members supporting its activities.

In the next phase, CE SAIN will further expand its activities, establish new technology parks, focus on outreach to showcase innovations and create linkages to farmers and engage youth and the private sector to build awareness of the importance of their involvement in the agricultural sector.

Watch a short video of the virtual celebration.

For more information about CE SAIN, please visit cesain.org.