Consulting Cambodian stakeholders
Traditional and global vegetable seed to be included in seed kits for communities in four provinces.
AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center initiated the Cambodia component of the five-country USAID-funded project “Deploying vegetable seed kits to tackle malnutrition” through a Consultation Workshop in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 10-11 August 2015. Representatives from USAID, internationally funded agricultural projects, Cambodian national and provincial agricultural institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector participated in the workshop, providing guidance, perspective and recommendations for implementation.
Jackie Hughes, AVRDC Deputy Director General – Research, Fenton Beed, Regional Director East and Southeast Asia, and Kartini Luther, Assistant to the Deputy Director General – Research presented the project’s planned activities and illustrated AVRDC’s extensive experience in home garden programs. Jennifer Harte (USAID Washington) clarified the project perspective under the Feed the Future umbrella.
To build synergy with existing agriculture and nutrition projects in the country, Dennis Lesnick (Fintrac), Kim Miratori (WorldFish), Bou Kea (Save the Children), Marieke van Schie (SNV) and Pel Chivita (Helen Keller International) presented briefs on their respective current projects HARVEST, Enhancing Rice Field Fisheries, NOURISH, Cambodian Horticultural Project for Advancing Income and Nutrition, and Homestead Food Production. Sandra Stajka (USAID Cambodia Mission Director of Food Security and Environment Office) facilitated an additional round of discussion among USAID-funded projects in Cambodia.
Through smaller, targeted group discussions, the AVRDC team gained a better understanding of current conditions and received advice on the selection of project sites within the four USAID Zone of Influence provinces of Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Battambang, and Pursat. Seed of traditional and global vegetables to be included in seed kits will be decided based on a list identified during the workshop, taking into account nutritional content, local preferences, ease of production, and potential for income generation. Issues surrounding the production of vegetable seed kits in Cambodia were discussed and options were deliberated. The groups also discussed pertinent matters related to nutrition sensitization, nutrition promotion, and capacity building.
The Consultation Workshop team appreciated the full support of Ho Puthea (Director of Horticulture and Subsidiary Crops, Cambodia General Directorate of Agriculture) and John Bowman (Senior Agricultural Advisor, USAID Bureau for Food Security). Results from the workshop will be used to prepare a workplan for USAID approval to guide the three-year project.