Farmers as advocates of climate-smart agriculture scaling

A roving workshop was held in Laos to facilitate knowledge sharing among Southeast Asian Climate-Smart Village farmers.

Climate-smart farmers can develop further through knowledge-sharing and on-site learning. Therefore, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA) organized the 4th Climate-Smart Village (CSV) roving workshop in Vientiane and Savannakhet province, Laos from 10 to 15 September 2018. The workshop was co-organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Laos, Cuso International and the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI).

The workshop specifically aimed to enhance the participants’ knowledge of climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices (CSA T&Ps), facilitate sharing of knowledge and experiences on CSA T&Ps among farmers and CSV support teams. Besides, it also demonstrated community-based CSA approaches that are successful in Laos context. Previous roving workshops were held in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Farmers from Southeast Asian CSVs first visited the municipality of Guinayangan, Philippines last September 2015.

Cross-learning platform

 Through the roving workshop, we would like not only to enhance the participants’ knowledge on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) but also to facilitate cross-learning among local leaders in Southeast Asia and prepare for the upscaling of CSA T&Ps.”

Dr. Leo Sebastian, regional program leader of CCAFS SEA

Introduced by CCAFS in 2015, CSVs were established in the region to serve as models of climate-resilient communities and field laboratories of CSA T&Ps. Currently, there are seven CSVs in the region:

  • Ma, My Loi, and Tra Hat in Vietnam
  • Phailom and Ekxang in Laos
  • Rohal Suong in Cambodia
  • Guinayangan in the Philippines.

Over 50 participants from the seven CSVs, CCAFS, IRRI, NAFRI and other local and international organizations attend the five-day workshop. During the event, the participants from the seven CSVs presented the status and progress of their respective CSA initiatives. They visited Ekxang and Phailom CSVs, other project areas and institutions working on CSA. During these field visits, they interacted with people from the communities and other implementers of CSA T&Ps. Thereafter, the participants processed their learnings in synthesis and reflection sessions.

The participants of the 4th CSV Roving Workshop. Photo: Juilen Bourque (Cuso International)

Youth and women for CSA

For this year’s roving workshop, special attention was given to the participation of women and youth in CSA scaling. Out of the 25 participants, 10 were women and 6 youth leaders.

Savet My, a woman representative from Rohal Soung CSV in Cambodia expressed her delight that she was able to participate in the workshop and to work with other farmers and technical staff from other CSVs. The workshop provided her an opportunity to learn new lessons on livestock raising, organic agriculture, pest-smart agriculture and natural resources conservation.

The participants also visited the Phommalok organic farm, a good example of integrated farming system managed by a young Lao woman named Chanthaly "Lae" Diyangwai. Located in Vientiane capital, Phommalok organic farm serves as a demonstration farm showcasing various agroforestry, farming and aquaculture practices. Additionally, it is a learning resource center for farmers, students and extension workers. Tourists visiting the region can come there for a homestay.

 We need more role models like Ms. Lae. If young people like me see other young farmers succeed in agriculture, particularly CSA, we will be inspired to do the same.”

Noel Sario, youth leader from Guinayangan CSV in the Philippines

Priorities for CSA scaling

After seeing various CSA initiatives in Laos, the participants were asked to identify the CSA T&Ps they want to adopt in their respective CSVs. Most of the participants selected organic vegetable farming, rice-fish systems, mushroom cultivation and the community seed bank. To increase youth and women participation, some CSVs expressed interest in conducting a farmer field school and a PhotoVoice project. 

Through the workshop, CCAFS, together with its partners, hopes to further enhance CSV implementation and CSA scaling in Southeast Asia. Dr. Sebastian emphasized that “by engaging farmer- and local leaders in CSVs and nearby communities in activities like this, we are nurturing CSA champions. The knowledge-sharing and field trips, will not only expose them to different options for making their own communities climate-smart but will also make them advocates of CSA scaling.”

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