Agroecology Futures Regional Forum, 6-8 November, Siem Reap Cambodia

Agroecology Futures Regional Forum, 6-8 November, Siem Reap Cambodia

Organized by: Gret, Cirad and the General Directorate of Agriculture in Cambodia in partnership with ALiSEA and CANSEA

Funded by AFD


ASEAN countries are following a path of intensification due to rising demands for agricultural products that increase pressure to simplify crop production and agricultural landscapes, increasing the vulnerability to climate change and promotion of monoculture crops. Such vulnerabilities are even exacerbated under some agroecological zones where most agriculture is rain-fed and climate change has a potentially large influence on productivity and profitability. Depending on their respective history, demographic changes, economic development patterns and agroecological potential of their landscapes, agriculture intensification has evolved at different pace and had variable ecological and social impacts throughout the region (i.e., land degradation and biodiversity depletion associated with the generalization of input-intensive cropping practices). In lowlands and floodplains, rice production can be increasingly constrained by water scarcity and climatic events (i.e., floods, drought, and sea level rise in the deltas). High dependency on energy, technologies, engineered landscapes, and infrastructures may also increase the fragility of the rice farming systems. In addition, climate change has become an important issue for countries and regions exposed to extreme flooding and/or drought. Rice farming is facing a dual challenge of delivering sufficient and nutritious food to meet the projected demands of population growth and markets, and overcoming issues such as climate change, soil fertility depletion and water scarcity. In the mid to upper watersheds, land degradation and soil erosion are linked with deforestation, fast agrarian changes from swidden systems to intensive cultivation of monoculture crops like maize, cassava, banana, among others. On large areas in the uplands, soil fertility depletion is progressing at a rapid pace with sometimes extreme social, economic (low profitability, increasing debts) and environmental consequences. This environmental degradation is both a result and a driver of social change. Intensive farming (rice and others commodities) has provided huge productivity gains under conditions of intensive resource use and a controlled, predictable environment. It is however essential to recognize the inherent limits and contradictions of agrochemical-based production. The process of agricultural intensification, both in the lowlands and in the uplands, increases the systemic dependency of smallholder farmers on fossil fuels. By relying on fossil fuels for both energy-intensive production and agrochemical inputs, several farming systems in the region are trapped into a constant need for maintenance and thematic adjustments (i.e., agro-chemical inputs, plant genetic and mechanization) to environmental attributes that are becoming unstable, and changing at an accelerating rate. In the coming decades, agriculture in the region will be shaped by a complex set of social, economic and environmental drivers becoming more significant every year. Population growth, urbanization, international trade and investments will impact food production systems. To meet future food needs, it is imperative to transform agriculture to deliver food security and safety, restore ecosystem services, sustain economic growth and provide larger opportunities for smallscale farmers and youth. Achieving these goals will demand to design and promote innovative farming systems, to explore new methods of intervention as well as innovative institutional and financial mechanisms. In this dynamic, a shift towards an agroecological transition is widely emphasized and expected in the region.

Objectives of the Regional Forum

Overall objective:

The overall aim of the forum is to build a momentum around the different dimensions of Agroecology that should be addressed, and consolidate a Regional Agroecology stakeholders’ coalition.

Specific objectives

Wrapping up the achievements of ACTAE project (Towards an Agroecological Transition in South-East Asia, AFD) & discussing the future of regional initiative in Agroecology.

1. Capitalization & Communication

  • To consolidate and disseminate achievements and outstanding initiatives conducted in the framework of ACTAE over the past 3 years.
  • To demonstrate to a broader audience practical results / outputs from ACTAE and others stakeholders (innovation and knowledge fair).

2. Cross Learning & Sharing

  • To facilitate the sharing of experiences among regional stakeholders (panel discussions, parallel and poster sessions).
  • To use the conference to have a dialogue among stakeholders on common issues and challenges at regional level. For instance, what policies are needed? What are the priority issues to be addressed at national and regional level? To create a matrix with what are the critical issues & what are the key actors to be involved to work on these issues.

3. Advocacy & Fund raising

  • To showcase to policy makers, donor agencies and active regional AE stakeholders what has been done within the framework of ACTAE (learning briefs, knowledge products…).

4. Agroecology Network structuration

  • To bring together all ALiSEA, CANSEA members and regional universities to consolidate network foundations and engage a participatory process for shaping their road maps.

When and where: The forum will be organized in Siem Reap, Cambodia on the 6th to 8th of November 2018 ahead of the Fruits & Vegetable Fair organized every year by Ministry of Commerce (8th – 11th November).

Targeted audience: The first part of the Forum (6th, 7th and 8th (morning only) November) will address stakeholders actively involved in promoting Agroecology across the Mekong region: Farmers’ Associations, Development Practitioners, Academia and Research, Private Sector, Government Organizations. The second part (8th November afternoon and beyond) will be opened to the general public to raise awareness about agroecology.

In addition, the forum will be also opened to funding agencies and technical partners (AFD, SDC, World Bank, ADB, Giz, FAO, IFAD, UNCCD, Swiss Contact, CE SAIN/RUA…).

Forum proposed organization
1st & 2nd Days: 6th – 7th November: Agroecology Futures Regional Forum

The Forum will open with plenary addresses by invited keynote speakers in relation to the following main themes:

  • Theme 1: Current dynamics in production and food systems and Agroecology innovations
  • Theme 2: Enabling environment for promoting Agroecological transition (communication, education, advocacy, certification, food systems…)
  • Theme 3: Supporting and converging regional networking and strategies for promoting agroecology.

Two days combining:

  • Key note presentations to set the stage of the main themes (plenary session)
  • Parallel thematic sessions and round tables
  • Cultural presentation and Poster session

Parallel sessions will be held per the above three themes, to be organized by session conveners. The format of the parallel sessions will be determined by the conveners, in close collaboration with the organizing committee, to ensure the themes are sufficiently presented and discussed to compile the main outcomes and key aspects.

Abstracts and papers for keynote speakers will be invited to support the 3 main themes.

Posters presented by different stakeholders involved in agroecological transition and addressing the 3 main themes.

Theme 1: Current dynamics in production and food systems and AE innovations

Keynote presentations

  • Smallholder farming in ASEAN / Mekong Region: what are we talking about?
  • Regional networking for promoting Agroecology in South East Asia (case of ACTAE: ALiSEA, CANSEA)
  • New strategies of sustainable food production in ASEAN (public policies & strategies for promoting Agroecology)
  • Agroecology, commodities and agroecosystems transformation

Parallel sessions

  • PS1 – Agroecology, commodities and agroecosystems transformation
  • PS2 – Landscape/territorial approach (field to market)
  • PS3 – Status of agrochemical use in ASEAN and challenges for an Agroecology transition
  • PS4 – Crop Biodiversity: A Foundational Component of Sustainably Intensified Farming Systems
  • PS6 – Climate Change & Indigenous Knowledge & Agroecology
  • PS7 – Practical examples for improving soil fertility
  • PS8 – Session for the implementation of a Conservation Agriculture Consortium in Cambodia

Theme 2: Enabling environment for promoting AE transition (communication, education, advocacy, certification, food systems…)

Keynote presentations

  • Wrapping-up of parallel sessions of day 2
  • The value of the soil capital or Biodiversity and Ecosystem services for Asia and the Pacific
  • Historical drivers of land use changes, impacts on livelihoods, in the uplands of Cambodia
  • Blockchain: Investing in global resilience and regeneration with sustainable agro-forestry
  • Donors’ strategies to address Agroecological transition and how regional networks can facilitate their implementation

Parallel sessions

  • PS9 – Examples of participatory process to accompany an agroecological transition
  • PS10 – Building the new generation of Agroecology farmers (Education, training and Agroecology)
  • PS11 – Soil management, climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • PS12 – Agroecology food safety, certification and role of consumers

Theme 3: Supporting and converging regional networking and strategies for promoting agroecology

Plenary session:

  • PS13 – Closed session for drafting an informal university network addressing AE
  • PS14 – Closed session for ALiSEA members to address the future of the network: What priorities to focus on, with which governance modalities?
  • PS15 – Key topics of R4D for an Agroecological Transition (follow up meeting of the workshop held in Battambang in April 2018)
 3rd day (afternoon): 8th of November
  • Innovation and knowledge fair which could include
    • Technical / hands on workshop: vermicompost making, biofunctool (soil clods and slake test), seed saving and keeping …
    • Integrated pest management, agroforestry and crop-livestock integration.
    • Exhibition of a diversity of plants and soil profile.
    • Exhibition for the regional universities to present their programs and activities related to AE (education, research, innovations/technology parks).
    • Seed fair / swapping. It will be asked to the participants to bring seeds from the place where they work and to have a place for a seed swap that is basically a seed exchange process between farmers, development operators.
    • Video & photo corners
      • The photo corner will be dedicated to the ongoing photo contest launched by ALiSEA which will culminate at the Forum with the awarding of the 3 best photos,
      • The video corner will be dedicated to the several clips and other movies available on ALiSEA and CASC YouTube channels as well as the e-learning platform.

Public cultural performance (collaboration with PHARE circus) in the evening about Agroecology and Natural Resources Management.

Anticipated networks and stakeholders to be invited to share their activities / experiences:

For more information: Full Concept Note Forum Agroecology Futures & Contact: [email protected]