Market-focused integrated crop and livestock enterprises for NW Cambodia

NW Cambodia has seen an increase in the area of maize from 14,000 to 150,000 ha between 1999 and 2009. This has resulted in reduced crop diversity, declining soil fertility and erosion.

Expansion of cropping has coincided with a 20% increase in the cost of farm labour since 2004 resulting in transition to tractors for cultivation and planting crops. Now only 5% of cattle are used as draught animals compared to the national average of 28%. Despite this, cattle numbers are increasing in the region - associated with increasing demand for beef. With an ample supply of crop residues and potential for production of forages, there are opportunities for profitable beef production from cattle in the region.

This project will shift the focus from subsistence-based food security interventions to sustainable food security through diversification, generation of cash income and commercialisation. The engagement of the commercial and education sectors as well as research and extension providers will ensure development and delivery of viable alternative commercial crop and livestock enterprises.

The proposal builds upon previous upland cropping systems projects ASEM/2000/109 and ASEM/2006/130 and the cattle projects AH/2003/008, AH/2006/025 and AH/2005/086 which developed improved crop-livestock component technologies and practices leading to potential further gains by integrating crop and livestock enterprises.

The project will work with AH/2010/046, focused on SE Cambodia, for development of cattle market chain, improved management systems and on-farm biosecurity.

The objectives of this proposal are to:

  1. Identify and explore potential for intensification, processing and marketing opportunities in NW Cambodia through an understanding of the livelihood and operating environment of current and alternative whole-farm crop-cattle production systems.
  2. Review current soil status with regard to degradation under the range of existing farming systems and identify crop-cattle management options that meet economic, social and environmental goals in NW Cambodia.
  3. Evaluate opportunities and technologies for Cambodian crop-cattle production systems in the context of declining soil fertility in partnership with 200 focus households.
  4. Assess and develop options for adaptation to climate variability and climate change for crop-cattle farming systems with 200 focus households in NW Cambodia and with existing CMA farmer groups in CW & NW NSW, Australia.

The project will enhance networks and learning between farmers and other stakeholders in the value chain from input supply to production to marketing.

Researchers and farmers, will identify and evaluate opportunities for integrated crop-livestock systems. On-farm biological, physical and chemical data will be collected to better understand the reasons why farmers are not achieving crop/livestock production potentials that were measured and achieved on-farm in previous projects.

In crop-cattle enterprises in NW NSW, best practice conservation farming systems have been developed to respond to climate variability but more needs to be known about how resilient these practices will be in the face of climate change. The project will collaborate with CMAs and farmer groups to develop climate change adaptation strategies.

Due for completion in 2016

Funded by: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

Partners: Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England; Cambodian National Department of Animal Health and Production (DAHP); Royal University of Agriculture (RUA); University of Battambang; NSW DPI; Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation

Contact: Ian Patrick