JICA implements new tech to boost Pursat rice production

JICA implements new tech to boost Pursat rice production

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has recently launched an agriculture development program in Pursat province aiming to both increase rice production yields throughout the province, while simultaneously reducing the negative effects of large-scale paddy farming through the use of innovative new production techniques.

The venture reflects another example of the ongoing support and capital investments from Japan’s JICA in developing Cambodia’s western regions and improving rural livelihoods.

According to a recent update on JICA’s official Cambodia Facebook channel, the core objectives of the new initiative include reducing methane emissions from rice cultivation, improving regional water management practices, and ultimately combating climate change.

Intended to span five years, from April 2024 to March 2029, the project will focus on piloting a series of rice farms within Pursat province leveraging intermittent irrigation systems.

Intermittent irrigation systems entail periodic irrigation during the rice planting phases, rather than prolonged continuous flooding methods used in conventional cultivation.

The intermittent irrigation method allows the soil to be oxygenated while reducing methane emissions.

Therefore, successfully including the technique in Cambodian rice paddy agriculture has the potential to revolutionize traditional farming practices nationwide, and support more sustainable agricultural development into the future, suggest the agency.

The initiative will establish necessary irrigation and water management systems suitable for the project, targeting areas near the Tonle Sap River’s western region.

A research team including Japanese and Cambodian specialists have taken on the project across several pilot locations in Pursat province.

Along with the pilot farms, the initiative also intends to support the implementation of a carbon credit framework to support sustainable agriculture stakeholders, especially in rural areas.

Development of agricultural practices in Pursat province will support the alleviation of rural poverty by improving rice yields and sector income levels, noted the agency.

The project also demonstrates Japan and Cambodia’s joint commitment to leveraging technology to overcome new environmental and socio-economic concerns.

JICA is an implementing agency of the Japanese government responsible for utilizing and overseeing Japanese official development aid (ODA) for the purpose of supporting the socioeconomic development, recovery or economic stability of developing regions.

The recent initiatives underway in Pursat represent the ongoing support by the Japanese state agency in the broad development of Cambodia’s western regions, which has been ongoing for many years already.

‘The West Tonlesap Irrigation and Drainage Improvement and Rehabilitation Project’, for instance, which began in 2016 and continued until its completion in 2020, is a complete irrigation system for western Cambodia directly funded by JICA, implemented with the assistance of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology (MOWRAM).

The huge irrigation infrastructure project was constructed with six subprojects, Rean Kun and Por Canal in Battambang province, Wat Luong, Wat Chre and Damnak Ampil subprojects in Pursat province, and Lum Hach in Kampong Chhnang province.

The total irrigated area created by the project is 13,393 hectares, benefiting more than 12,000 households in the 40 villages of three target provinces.

The project led to considerable increases in paddy yields, and allowed for several paddy production per year in irrigated zones, along with water for other crops and uses.

JICA also recently invested around $22.2 million into ‘The Cambodia-Japan Water Treatment Plant’ in Pursat province.

The project engagement spanned 24 months from August 2021 to August 2023 and included the construction of both a water treatment plant and an administrative building to significantly enhance water infrastructure in Pursat province.

Inaugurated in December 2023, the project effectively doubled the production capacity of the Pursat Water Supply Authority (PWSA).

According to the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation (MISTI), the JICA investment in the water treatment plant in Pursat not only sought to address the immediate water needs of the community but was also a step towards achieving Cambodia’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Ministry commended JICA’s ongoing support for water access infrastructure, which it said enhances the province’s ability to attract further investment, thereby contributing to the economic growth and welfare of its populace. (khmertimeskh)

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