ABE Delegation Visits Cambodia for Sustainability and Food Security Related Program
A group of faculty and staff in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) visited Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia from June 19 to 28, 2022 for various meetings, field trips, and research discussion in connection with the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC). Leyton Brown, project manager; George Czapar, associate dean and director of extension emeritus; and Prasanta Kalita, professor and director of ASMC; represented the ASMC at the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Laboratory (SIIL) annual meeting in Phnom Penh followed by a research conference at Siem Reap during this time. The ASMC group presented the highlights of the project from the last two years from activities in both Asia and Africa.
Kalita says the ASMC has made significant progress in identifying, evaluating, and scaling up of transformational technologies for smallholder farmers in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.
After the annual meeting, the ABE group took the opportunity to visit various institutions in Cambodia. First was the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia in which they had fruitful discussions on curriculum and human resources development issues related to agricultural and biological engineering. Next was the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) in Cambodia, interacting with more than 50 participants from both developing and developed countries (including several from USAID).
In a day-long field trip, the group also went to Bos Knor Field Research and Extension Station and the Mini Agriculture Technology Park in Kampong Thom. At Bos Knor Field Research and Extension Station, the team learned about technologies and practices on Conservation Agriculture for sustainability on food production, soil health, environment, and climate change. The team also visited a Mini Agriculture Technology Park in Kampong Thom and observed various research activities on aquaculture practices. The Mini Agriculture Technology Park features a high school that has curriculum focused primarily on agriculture. Here, the students are learning and participating on various conservation agricultural practices, crop production, and sustainability issues in Cambodia.
“It was great to see the exciting developments in Cambodia on sustainability. Cambodia is at the forefront for the entirety of Asia, if not the whole world, for conservation agricultural practices involving small-holder farmers, private sector partners, and philanthropic organizations,” Kalita explains.
The ASMC, hosted in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the Grainger College of Engineering, is funded by USAID through Kansas State University. The consortium is designed to empower smallholder farmers in West Africa and Asia through sustainable mechanization solutions.
Professor Prasanta Kalita, ASMC Director and Leyton Brown, ASMC Project Manager discuss the various research being conducted at the Bos Knor Field Research and Extension Station.
A roller crimper and no-till planter for conservation agriculture at the Bos Knor Field Research and Extension Station
The students at the Mini Agriculture Technology Park in Kampong Thom share their future career plans and how the Technology Park has been influential in their lives.
ASMC project members from UIUC, Bangladesh Agricultural University and the Royal University of Agriculture in Cambodia meet to discuss the overall ASMC project activity progress as well as on curriculum and human resources development for agriculture in Cambodia.
Prasanta Kalita, George Czapar, and Leyton Brown in Siem Reap for the Third International Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition Conference.