Martine François is a programme manager with GRET. She is currently participating in the implementation of the Apici project (low-input agriculture in Cambodia), conducted in partnership with the Hauts-de-Seine area General Council in France. The objective of the project is simple: promote agroecology in the region of Siem Reap in Cambodia.
What makes Apici a unique project?
The Apici project is unique for several reasons. Firstly, the long-term participation of the Hauts-de-Seine area General Council in the project, which points to a strong commitment to the populations in the region of Siem Reap. The partnership with the General Council has been ongoing for approximately ten years now, a collaboration enabling the development of agroecology in this region of Cambodia and which strengthens local farmers’ confidence in the project and incites them to follow our recommendations and participate in our activities. GRET had the opportunity to conduct numerous actions with these farmers, such as exchange visits between farmers to disseminate innovations promoted by the project (compost, biopesticides, seeds, …).
Another factor that makes this project singular is its team. The people working on this project form a multi-disciplinary team, in particular with agronomists who have skills in agroecology. Lastly, our method of action, which supports stakeholders downstream in value chains to create greater connection between farmers and urban markets.
What is Ecofarm and what is its current news?
Ecofarm is a cooperative of farmers who wanted to sell their produce collectively to highlight the use of agroecology in their production practices. These are farmers who practise agroecology and do not use pesticides. They have a list of specifications, certified by a participative guarantee system, enabling them to guarantee consumers that products comply with the standards defined in the specifications.
In terms of Ecofarm news: the creation of a weekend market in Siem Reap where farmers can sell their produce. This enables them to promote produce certified by the Ecofarm label in the town of Siem Reap. This is not just a not-for-profit action, it also serves to promote products, given that consumers can find these products in other places in the town on other days of the week.
What are the project’s successes and impacts?
The successes of the Apici project reside in the fact that more and more farmers are convinced that the agroecological approach is a good way to develop their agricultural activity in the future. Some of the training conducted by the project (in particular training on making short videos) enables farmers to join networks for the promotion of agroecology, for example the ALISEA network, which promotes agroecology in South-East Asia.