Bangkok (ESCAP News, 20 April 2018) -- Policymakers, academics, experts, and representatives from the private sector gathered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this week for a regional workshop on how sustainable agricultural mechanization can promote the application and mainstreaming of Conservation Agriculture in Asia-Pacific.
Over the last 20 years, deforestation and expansion of agricultural land have led to large scale soil erosion and the deterioration of water quality in the region, which is home to 90 per cent of the worlds small farms. Conservation Agriculture is a more sustainable approach to farming that can improve productivity, increase profits and food security, while preserving the environment, but many smallholder farmers lack access to the equipment they need to implement these techniques.
“Conservation Agriculture can provide a range of economic, agronomic, environmental and social benefits in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its adoption is especially important for small and marginal farmers in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr. Li Yutong, Head of Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
“Promoting sustainable agricultural mechanization is vital for implementing the principles of Conservation Agriculture and this workshop marks an important collaborative effort in this direction,” she added.
The two-day workshop, co-organized by CSAM and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Kingdom of Cambodia, identified key areas for regional cooperation among stakeholders to promote sustainable agricultural mechanization, and provided a platform to share best practices and innovations from across the region.
“On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, I am willing to assure of our commitment, contribution and continued cooperation with CSAM and the other member countries in order to promote the sustainable development and management of agricultural mechanization in the Asia and Pacific region,” said Mr. Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia.
Based in Beijing, China, CSAM serves as a regional forum for regular policy dialogues among member countries, to facilitate knowledge sharing, and promote cooperation on sustainable agricultural mechanization for a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable Asia and the Pacific.