Regional UN training promotes conservation agriculture to address land degradation and declining yields


On 9 May 2019 in Siem Reap, policy makers, practitioners and researchers from 15 countries across the region wrapped up a four-day training in Cambodia today underscoring the need for appropriate agricultural machinery to enable the adoption of conservation agriculture approaches in the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite its growing significance as a means to address land degradation and declining yields in the agricultural sector, the area under conservation agriculture in the region is still very limited. The poor availability of suitable agricultural machinery, restricted investment capacities and inadequate application of mechanization solutions, particularly for resource-poor smallholder farmers, have been recognized as key constraints. 

The ‘Regional Training on Appropriate Scale Mechanization for Conservation Agriculture’ was organized by the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the General Directorate of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia, the French Agricultural Research Institute for International Development and Swisscontact.

The hands-on regional training served not only to enhance the knowledge of participants on the subject and exchange good practices, but also to build strong linkages and networks with other stakeholders including the private sector to enhance the collective scale and impact of their work.

Participants were further introduced to new ideas and innovations on the mechanization aspects of conservation agriculture, which can help bring benefits to farmers by improving productivity, and enhancing profits and food security, while preserving the environment.

Commenting on the occasion, Head of CSAM Dr. Li Yutong said: “CSAM is pleased to collaborate with our partners to strengthen capacities for appropriate scale mechanization for conservation agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region, thus serving the plan of action for ‘people, planet and prosperity’ embodied in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Successful adoption of conservation agriculture in the region can contribute towards achieving several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets including increasing agricultural productivity, alleviating rural poverty, strengthening adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards, and restoring degraded land and soil.

CSAM is making concerted efforts to increase the awareness of the role of sustainable agricultural mechanization in promoting conservation agriculture and the understanding of policy issues favouring appropriate scale mechanization in the Asia-Pacific region. The training was held as a follow-up to last year’s ‘Regional Workshop on the Role of Mechanization in Strengthening Smallholders’ Resilience through Conservation Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific’.