Cambodian officials complete training in cassava cultivation techniques in China


Cambodian officials conduct a field visit during a cassava cultivation training in Hainan province, China. (Photo: UNDP)

A practical implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for Strengthened Cooperation between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and UNDP has commenced with operationalization of China-Cambodia pilot initiative on South-South cooperation.

As a follow-up to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, witnessed by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and PRC Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the pilot initiative between Cambodia and China was off to a good start.

Highlights

  • The training combined classroom lectures, laboratory experiments and field and factory visits to provide the trainees opportunities to interact with farmers, Chinese government officials, businessmen, and cassava experts.
  • The training marked the practical implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for Strengthened Cooperation between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and UNDP to operationalize China-Cambodia pilot initiative on South-South cooperation.

Thirty Cambodian officials have completed a training programme in China in cassava cultivation that aimed to help Cambodia diversify its export base to boost economic growth.

The Cambodian officials were sent by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. They participated in the training with the support from United Nations Development Programme and China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The Chinese Academy for Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) in Hainan province provided the training, from 27 December 2011 to 16 January 2012, which was appreciated by the Cambodian participants as a valuable experience.

“I found this training very useful for Cambodia where cassava research and development still lag behind many other countries in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. You Tainghy, Chief of Agro-Industry Office of Provincial Department of Agriculture of Kampong Cham.

Other Cambodian trainees came from the General Directorate of Agriculture, provincial Departments of Agriculture, Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute and Prek Leap and Kampong Cham National Schools of Agriculture.

The training marked the practical implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding for Strengthened Cooperation between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and UNDP to operationalize China-Cambodia pilot initiative on South-South cooperation. It was done with the support of UNDP offices in Cambodia and China.

A training needs assessment was carried out prior to the training. Findings and recommendations from the assessment fed into the adjusting of the training module to this specific group of trainees.

delegation photo
Members of the Cambodian delegation pose for picture with UNDP and Chinese officials during a training in cassava cultivation in Hainan province, China, last month. (Photo: UNDP)

UNDP in Cambodia arranged for a Chinese-speaking colleague from the Environment Unit to accompany government participants to Hainan to facilitate learning process and assist with translation.

Throughout the 21-day training, the participants said they have gained extensive knowledge and experience on cassava cultivation. This included knowledge about soil preparation and planting techniques, variety selection, breeding and genetic transformation, disease and pest control, fertilizer application and weeding, harvesting and processing. The training combined classroom lectures, laboratory experiments and field and factory visits to provide the trainees opportunities to interact with farmers, Chinese government officials, businessmen, and cassava experts.

“The creative method of teaching helps bridge the gap between theoretical, technical and practical aspects of cassava cultivation and provide us a better understanding of cassava related knowledge,” Mr. Poeung Serey Houch, a technical officer of the Department of Industrial Crops of the General Directorate of Agriculture, said in his remarks at the closing ceremony for the training.

Mr. You Tainghy, of the Department of Agriculture in Kampong Cham province, added: “From the training, I have learned many new techniques of cassava cultivation and advanced technologies such as cassava tissue culture, genetic transformation and breeding which I have never learned before in Cambodia.”

“Returning to Cambodia, I will share the knowledge and experience I have learned from China to my colleagues and Cambodian farmers,” he said.

The completion of the training course on 16 January has been officiated by Mr. Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Country Director in China, and Mr. Zhu Hong, Deputy Director General of Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Commerce.

Mr. Bahuet and Mr. Zhu, responding to the request from the Cambodian officials, expressed commitment to deepen the trilateral cooperation pilot and to continue the support with follow up actions after the training.