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march – may 2011 ParTNErS
species. “ We slowly realised that it was going
to be very difficult to protect the green spaces
when the villagers themselves didn’t have
food security, good education opportunities,
healthcare services or household income
security,” mr Bognar says.
“ We’ve been helping to introduce a
diversified agricultural system to around 1,500
farmers. many are very poor, widowed families
with very low incomes, so we are introducing
vegetable gardens, poultry, pigs and fishponds.
a lot of people here don’t know much about
farming, so they are not achieving the yields
they could be.”
Through acIar, australia’s vast experience
in agriculture, livestock and fisheries could
be tapped to provide cambodia’s struggling
farmers with best-practice techniques to make
the most of their limited resources.
“cambodia is still emerging from a civil
war, so is a young nation and a lot of farming
skills disappeared, especially in these isolated
communities,” mr Bognar says. “ Working with
acIar has provided a wonderful opportunity to
tap into a knowledge bank and bring it back to
cambodia and then scale up and scale out our
operations so we can reach a lot more villagers
australian agronomist Stephanie Belfield has
been introducing the concept of IPm to farmers
and extension workers through workshops.
“ We’ve been trying to address the issue of
pesticide overuse in cambodia,” ms Belfield
says. “a lot of these pesticides are not good for
human health and farmers don’t use personal
protection equipment, so we cover all these
issues through the IPm workshops.”
One key message is that spraying early in
the season can wipe out beneficial insects,
causing crop problems as pest numbers build
up catastrophically over time. The result is low
production and high input costs.
“IPm workshops have potential for a great
impact on the farmers and could be very
beneficial to their health and wellbeing, and
also to their profitability,” she says. “Farmers
are very interested in this work and if we can
extend the message widely then it could be
Reaching childRen and paRents
Project leader Professor Bob martin is someone
who thinks outside the square.
When attending an IPm workshop he
thought up a novel way to explain the complex
IPm idea. he came up with the idea of writing a
storybook to help get across the key messages
Fast forward a couple of years, and IPm
concepts are now being taught to the local
teachers in all five of the mJP Foundation’s
targeted primary schools, as part of a life-skills
While their parents watch on, Samlout school children in Cambodia take part in role play
during a session on integrated pest management in the life skills program.
PROJECT: ASEM/2006/130: Enhancing production
and marketing of maize and soybean in north-
western Cambodia and production of summer
crops in north-eastern Australia
CONTACT: Professor Bob Martin,
program. The book, ‘Jorani and the green
vegetable bugs’ (written in Khmer and
English), has been beautifully illustrated by
The children undertake a six-day program
with various games such as ‘ Who am I’, and
role-play the consequences when all the
good bugs are killed and a farmer is over-
exposed to pesticides.
as parents and the school community
watch the children perform in their colourful
costumes, the IPm messages are transferred to
farm families more broadly and, importantly,
reach the next generation of farmers.
FaRMeR Field school
helping to reach farmers in another region of
north-western cambodia is carE International,
whose rural development program assists some
3,000 farmers around Pailin.
carE International agricultural adviser mr
Touch Van* has been working on the acIar
crop production and marketing project.
In October 2010 he ran an IPm workshop
for farmers growing maize, soybean and
“at the workshop, when we got to the
field, we found a lot of insects and the farmers
thought it was a good time to spray because
the crop was at the fruiting stage,” mr Van says.
“ We advised them that a lot of the bugs were
actually beneficial, like hoverflies, lady beetles,
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