Whole of System and Value Chain Analyses reveal research needs in horticulture in Laos and Cambodia
Birch, CJ and Bonney, LB and Ives, SW and McPhee, J and Bounneuang, D and Seng, V and Sokun, B and Sacklokham, S, Whole of System and Value Chain Analyses reveal research needs in horticulture in Laos and Cambodia, Proceedings of the Tropical Agriculture Conference, 16-18 November 2015, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 1-2. (2015) [Conference Extract]
Whole of system and rapid value chain analyses were used to assess biophysical and input constraints to vegetable and fruit production in the Mekong River Valley, Lao PDR and Cambodia. In both countries, the assessment involved visits to vegetable and fruit producing areas, field inspections, interviews with smallholders, research and development institutions and support businesses, collection of field data and review of literature pertaining to resource constraints. Specific themes were distilled from the gathered information, and, whilst soil and water management was the focus, the approach identified other constraints and opportunities for system improvement to enhance production and income at the farm level and along the input value chains. These included pest management, and crop and cultivar phenology and adaptation. It became clear that the capacity for introduction of high technology input systems was constrained by finance, farm scale, regulations and socio-cultural expectations. Significantly, it revealed that substantial gains could be achieved in the short to medium term by applying low-input sustainable solutions to existing production systems. This would involve some purchased inputs including soil ameliorants, ’soft’ chemicals, improved cultivars and small-scale mechanization. However, the analysis also revealed that high-input systems should be included in research projects to assess their productive potential in the Lao and Cambodian environments. Training of support staff and smallholders was identified as a key to fostering and enhancing adoption of improved production technologies, and that these aspects needed to be underpinned by socio-cultural research for the development of effective extension strategies.
vegetables, fruit, agricultural systems, Lao PDR, Cambodia, system analysis, value chain analysis, training, extension