Association GERES

Strengthening rural communities' resiliency through agro-forestry

Technical Sheet

Technical sheet

 

Location: Cambodia

 

Dates: 2008 - 2014

 

Technical partners:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation of Facilities (CARF)
  • Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED)
  • Thailand Environment Institute Foundation (TEI)
  • Integrated Sustainable Biomass Supply Program (ISBS)
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • CARF
  • Ministry of Mines and Energy
  • FA

 

 

Action description

Action description

Creating a sustainable and local supply chain for seedlings

To demonstrate practices and test solutions that could potentially help strengthen vulnerable rural communities’ resilience to economic and environmental – including to effects of climate change – risks, GERES worked with the farmers and community in Samaki Meanchey district towards strengthening their skills – or broadening their knowledge to include – on agro-forestry practices, commercial agro-forestry business, and woodfuel-efficiency practices and technology.

 

To help improve the agricultural community’s resilience or enhance their ability to cope with a degraded environment, farmers were introduced to various agro-forestry practices, as well as trained and advised on effective techniques to increase soil fertility, and thereby improve crop yields.

 

Through the Integrated Rural Energy Development (IRED) platform, an integrated biomass energy value chain solution was demonstrated by farmers working at a ‘’model farm;’’ by practicing improved alley-cropping, water retention/soil improvement/compost production techniques, the ‘’master’’ farmers – who also went on to train more farmers on the said techniques – were able to support sustainable production of food crops as well as fuelwood.

 

To reinforce the sustainability of woodfuel supply and demand in this area, the AREA (Agro-forestry, Renewable Energy and Adaptation) Project saw the development of over five different agro-forestry models through which both fruit-bearing and multi-purpose trees – selected for their particular resilience to climate change and suitability as sustainable woodfuel source – were planted by farmers who had also been encouraged to achieve commercial sustainability by, among other means, profiting from a tree nursery business, thereby contributing to creating a sustainable biomass supply as well as to local economic value creation.

From objectives to actions

  • GERES engaged voluntary farmers and supported them to start a tree nursery business, by providing financial, technical and managerial assistance.
  • Tree nursery owners now grow and sell seedlings to village communities and farmers who practice implementing agroforestry techniques on their farmland.
  • GERES agroforestry experts identified and selected relevant agroforestry techniques, and disseminated them within farming communities through training, technical assistance and monitoring support.
  • GERES showcased improved techniques in a dedicated demonstration and training platform dedicated to agro-ecology and energy efficiency.
  • Communities of farmers have adopted and implemented these solutions with GERES technical assistance.
  • Selected “master farmers”, trained by GERES, have become experts on sustainable land management, vegetable growing techniques, water catchment and, in the long term, took over the role of guiding and supporting peer farmers from GERES.

From actions to impacts

Hundreds of farmers educated on sustainable agricultural practices, resulting in increased implementation of agro-ecological practices – composting, use of eco-pesticides, living fence production – leading to the soil’s increased organic matter and nitrogen content, Cation exchange capacity and pH levels, and to sequestration of an estimated 175 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, ultimately producing benefits in erosion control and soil fertility.