On December 26th, 2023, the Department of Extension for Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (DEAFF) successfully hosted the 2nd Steering Committee meeting and Annual Meeting for MetKasekor. The event served as an important platform to reflect on the achievements of the extension model and set the course for the upcoming year. MetKasekor, owned and led by DEAFF, has been making significant strides since its initiation in 2021. Collaborating with the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (PDAFFs) in Battambang and Preah Vihear, the model reached over 4,600 smallholder farmers across 17 villages in four districts. In the period from 2021 to the present day, more than 400 farmers actively embraced conservation agriculture, covering a substantial 1800 hectares of land in both provinces. This remarkable success prompted a vision to extend the MetKasekor model to other agriculturally potent provinces, offering smallholder farmers a gateway to new knowledge and technologies. The initiative has been buoyed by the unwavering support from esteemed organizations such as CIRAD, CE SAIN, Swisscontact, and Kansas State University. Furthermore, the endorsement of the model by PDAFFs in Battambang and Preah Vihear has played a crucial role in steering farmers toward agroecology. CARDEC, operating under the Department of Agriculture Land Resources Management (DALRM), has been a steadfast technical backbone for the PDAFFs. The MetKasekor Steering Committee, led by the distinguished H.E. Dr. Chan Saruth, provided vital guidance, ensuring the successful implementation of the pilot phase.
“Quote from Dr. Mao Minea”In tandem with MetKasekor, collaboration with two other government initiatives, KropouchKasekor (under the Department of Crop Seeds) and SevaKasekor (under the Department of Engineering), has been identified as imperative. KropouchKasekor focuses on promoting cover crops, while SevaKasekor concentrates on advancing agroecology machinery and services. This coordinated effort is anticipated to elevate the overall impact of MetKasekor in the agricultural landscape. As the year drew to a close, the MetKasekor Steering Committee and Annual meeting was organized to allow the technical working group (PDAFF) to present the progress of activities implemented in both provinces, To present the inputs from the previous sustainability meeting to the steering committee and receive feedback and directions to move forward, to discuss and find solutions to the challenges faced whilst implementing activities in the fields and lastly, to conclude the results achieved in 2023 and move forward with the workplan for 2024. The event unfolded with the opening remarks by H.E. Dr. Chan Saruth, setting the tone for a day of insightful deliberations. PDAFF-BTB and PDAFF-PVH presented on the progress and challenges encountered during the implementation of MetKasekor. Complementary perspectives were shared by CARDEC, Department of Extension Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Department of Agriculture Engineering, and Department of Agriculture and Land Resource Management. The gathering concluded with a group discussion and closing remarks by Dr. Mao Minea, Director of DEAFF. In conclusion, the MetKasekor Steering Committee and Annual Meeting 2023 served as a catalyst for collaboration, reflection, and strategic planning. The collective efforts of stakeholders and development partners showcased the commitment to ensuring the continued success and expansion of the conservation agriculture-extension model in Cambodia.