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Increasing rice yields by scaling mDSR in Cambodia discussed in IPSR workshop

13 September 2023, Cambodia: Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) conducted a workshop on Innovation Packaging and Scaling Readiness (IPSR) on 25 August in Phnom Penh. Stakeholders involved in scaling mechanized direct seeded rice (mDSR) discussed the challenges, and proposed solutions that enable scaling. For these solutions, they also examined innovation readiness and innovation use. There were 26 participants representing the government, private sector, and non-government organizations at the event.

The EiA core innovation in Cambodia is focused on mDSR. It has two components – mechanized row seeding and tailored agronomy. Its scaling ambition is to enable 10,000 farmers to use mDSR and increase yields by at least 10% by 2024.

IPSR process

The EiA has been implementing activities in Cambodia since 2021. This workshop, co-facilitated by Dr. Rica Joy Flor and Mr. Rathmuny Then of the IRRI-Cambodia Office, is a revisit of the scaling strategy set out by EiA partners in Cambodia. At the start of the workshop participants discussed and built consensus on the scaling ambition. They also examined the scaling bottlenecks and assessed the enabling solutions to scaling mDSR in Cambodia. Participants discussed these solutions based on various enabler categories such as knowledge and awareness, affordability of the solution, compatibility with existing markets, and trust or confidence in the solution.

Lastly, Dr. Flor shared the simple metrics used by the CGIAR in assessing the readiness and use of an innovation. Participants then scored the mDSR and its scaling enabler solutions using the metrics. Based on these levels, the participants assessed that mDSR in Cambodia is at a stage where the innovation is validated for its ability to achieve a specific impact under semi-controlled conditions but its innovation use is low (the innovation is used by some organizations connected to partners). They also rated the readiness and use of each solution they provided.

Solutions and Innovation Packaging

Among the key scaling solutions proposed by the participants were raising awareness through short videos shown on varied media platforms; training community champions of mDSR; bringing mDSR to Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) project on contracting seed producer agriculture cooperatives (ACs); and influencing the policy on climate adaptation to include mDSR, with local level outreach such as commune funds. When asked to prioritize at least two solutions to scale mDSR in Cambodia, the participants all agreed that “there is no single solution, it should be a package”.

Through a discussion on the scaling readiness graph, participants have a view of what they have achieved in scaling mDSR so far, and what else needs to be done. “It helps to show where I am.”, according to AgriSmart’s Bunika San, reflecting at the end of the scoring process.

Also Read: Major decisions related to agriculture under India’s G20 presidency

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