Soil examination by BLGG AgroXpertus provides Cambodian farmers with insight

13-02-2014 Raising the standard of agriculture in Cambodia: to contribute to this, product manager Arjan Reijneveld visited Cambodia last week. He spoke to the governor, the Cambodian ministry of Agriculture, people from the Agricultural University, farmers, information officials, and others.

In Cambodia, BLGG AgroXpertus contributes to the 'Climate adaptive approach for food security' project of Agriterra and LTO Noord. Cambodia has a dry and a wet season. The challenge is to manage water cleverly. The intention is to grow less rice and more vegetable crops. Rice uses a lot of water, and vegetable crops need less water. New techniques and facilities contribute to a good production and healthy crop. For instance, water basins were built to be able to store water in the wet periods for use in the drier periods.

Increasing production opportunities
However, more is needed. It was found that the growth of the crops was still not optimal with a better water supply. Therefore BLGG AgroXpertus performed soil examinations. This provided the project and the Cambodian farmers with many new views! There are still many opportunities to make soils in Cambodia more suitable for agriculture, according to Arjan Reijneveld. This allows Cambodian farmers to increase their production without exhausting their soil.

Remarkable results
Arjan Reijneveld: "The results of the examinations were often remarkable. In one plot, for instance 40% clay and 35% silt (about 45% elutriable) with hardly any organic matter was measured. This is not favourable for soil tillability. This heavy soil is considered infertile, but with more organic matter, it would be assessed completely differently."

Ploughing deeper
Mechanisation requires attention as well. For instance, ploughing is often done with equipment that ploughs to only 10 to 11 cm. Arjan Reijneveld: "Ploughing deeper will allow the crop to take up more nutrients, form a more extensive root system (less sensitive to drought) and will allow the soil to take up more moisture as well. However, at the same time this is also the problem. For these farmers it is not easy to invest in a tractor due to the costs."

In its infancy
Soil and fertilisation examination is still in its infancy in Cambodia. For agriculture in Cambodia it is important to create collaborations between farmers, consultants, cooperatives and the university. All parties recognise the importance of this. "That is a great gain", says Arjan Reijneveld.

Government highly interested
The Cambodian government is highly interested in BLGG AgroXpertus's soil examination. The Ministry of Agriculture sees it as an important tool for farmers to improve the yield and quality of the crop. Arjan Reijneveld: "There is a lot of interest in the details as well, such as for instance the pH of the plots."
The soil examination in Cambodia is performed using Fertilisation Manager. This method by BLGG AgroXpertus is also already being used at the Agricultural University visited by Reijneveld. Partly due to the efforts of Dr. Peou Yon, it has now been included in a dictation for students.

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