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completion Report April 2011 to May 2013

Farmer-Led Agricultural Innovation for Resilience (FLAIR) Program

Prepared for Shigeki Makino


Table of Contents

1. Background & previous report.......................................................... 3 FLAIR program background & Makino support................................ 3 Report to March 2011 (previous)...................................................... 5 2. Progress - April 2011 to May 2013.................................................... 5 2.1 Cambodia........................................................................... 5 Environmentally sustainable increases in production.. 7 Household income and food security............................. 8 Gender diversity in agriculture........................................ 8 Farmer Voice..................................................................... 8 Adopting and adapting SRI.............................................. 9 Weeding machines........................................................... 9 2.2 Vietnam............................................................................. 10 Productivity gains............................................................. 12 Reduced costs & environment gains.............................. 12 Women’s involvement in SRI............................................ 15 Bookkeeping project........................................................ 15 Farmer Voice..................................................................... 15 SRI adoption...................................................................... 16 3. Financial Report............................................................................... 16

TABLES & FIGURES Table 1 SRI adoption to end 2012 (cumulative number HH)............................ 7 Table 2 SRI adoption in FLAIR supported provinces........................................ 12 Figure 1 Graphical representation of FLAIR Vietnam strategy....................... 13

2 Progress Report


1.

Background & previous report

FLAIR program background & Makino support Oxfam America has been investing with partner organizations engaged in smallholder livelihood development in Cambodia and Vietnam for over 6 years. In 2010 this work was formed into the more cohesive Farmer-Led Agricultural Innovation for Resilience (FLAIR) program. The FLAIR program strategy paper provides a long-term vision, from 2010 to 2022. In late 2010 Makino endorsed a concept note requesting restricted funding to support OA work with FLAIR partners. The FLAIR program in Vietnam and Cambodia built on successful SRI pilots in both countries. This Makino investment helped the program to build farmer confidence and innovation and improve their agriculture practices and livelihoods. FLAIR also aimed to improve the quality of agriculture research and extension services and build synergies between private and public sector extension efforts. The Makino support of $100,000 per year for two years helped launch the FLAIR program. Innovation such as research and development of the labor-saving ricefield weeding machine, was made possible as a result of Makino funding.

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OXFAM IN CAMBODIA

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Report to March 2011 (previous) The previous report to Makino highlighted the following progress by FLAIR: • Farmers have directly benefited from the adoption of SRI. On average SRI farmers in Vietnam are increased yields by 9-15% while reducing use of inputs (70-75% less seed, 20-25% less nitrogen fertilizer and 1/3 less water) compared to conventional practice. Positive changes to the environment and farmer health as a result of less use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers where also noted. In Cambodia average yields with SRI reached 3.5 tonnes/ha compared to 2.5 tonnes/ha with conventional hand transplanting techniques. •

SRI adoption has steadily expanded throughout Vietnam as a direct and indirect result of OA support. By the end of the 2011 winter-spring crop season more than 1 million farmers had applied SRI practices on 185,065 hectares across 22 provinces. In Cambodia, adoption rates have varied from province to province, in part due to different extension approaches, with one partner reporting nearly 90% adoption rate but on very small plots of land and another reporting approximately 65% adoption rate on much larger land sizes (around 0.5 ha).

The program has been able to leverage support and resources from the government for SRI. In Vietnam the government allocated budget to support SRI and other low- input, low-carbon agricultural methods in the 6 program provinces. The contribution of the government is one third greater than the contribution of Oxfam. In Cambodia, Oxfam’s SRI work was one of three models recognized by UNDP for its potential to be scaled up to help Cambodia achieve its MDGs.

2.

Progress - April 2011 to May 2013

2.1 Cambodia The FLAIR program continued to support local NGO partners to promote SRI with small-scale rice farmers. Strong emphasis was been placed on enhancing partner technical ability in relation to SRI extension. Through OA support for partners, farmers had opportunities to explore innovations including; experimenting with different seed varieties, alternative non-chemical fertilizer options (e.g. green manure, cow urine), changing the growing period, working together as groups to solve common issues, knowledge building on agriculture technology as well as concepts of agro-ecology.

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Farmers have been encouraged to share their experiences with each other and acquire vital knowledge and skills that enhance their ability to adapt. At the end of the rice growing cycle, partners organize an SRI farmers’ forum to share experiences, raise challenges as well as encourage non-SRI farmers to join an SRI group in the next rice cycle. It also serves as a space to convince local authorities to provide more support and invest more in agriculture activities in the annual commune planning process. OA has encouraged partners to work as closely as possible with women farmers in order to build their confidence and knowledge and, thereby, strengthen their position in the household and community. Rachana revised its activities by including a study on the empowerment of women in agricultural development in 10 target villages. The results of the study provided valuable insight into the obstacles faced by women. Traditional beliefs about gender roles are still strong in the surveyed districts, even among women themselves. At a national level, OA supported the establishing of an SRI secretariat (SRIS), with a mandate to promote SRI across Cambodia. OA and other donors supported development, publication and distribution of the SRI curriculum. An organizational assessment of the SRIS was carried out. Whilst SRIS staff had good technical ability, strategic focus is not clear. Major weaknesses in MAFF extension policy and services, from national to province and district remains, despite considerable support over the last 20 years. On policy and advocacy, Oxfam has sought to develop strategic alliances with ministries and line departments working on agricultural extension and climate change. However, Oxfam has been more successful promoting the Cambodia Climate Change Network (CCCN). This included creating a civil society network focused on climate change issues and supporting the first and second national climate change forums. The CCCN is now self-reliant and active.

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Environmentally sustainable increases in production Program partners in Cambodia set targets of 50% of targeted households adopting SRI on 50% of their land in the villages where they are working by end 2012. Cumulative adoption data compiled from partner reports and spreadsheets prepared by Oxfam are presented in Table 1 below. Table 1 SRI adoption to end 2012 (cumulative number HH) Partner

Target

2009

2010

2011

2012

Rachana

4993

817

1046

4043

5011

Padek

8062

620

3039

4298

6342

Srer Khmer

2980

115

343

1464

2790

Total

16,035

1,552

4,428

9,805

14,143

There was a steady increase in the total number of households adopting SRI, with the final result achieved across the program being 88% of target households HH (Rachana exceeded the target). The total area under SRI from these HH is 7,709 hectares, and average 0.55 hectares per HH. However, it needs to be noted, there remains room for improvement in adoption rates and area under SRI cultivation. FLAIR program partners have reported increased yields resulting from SRI adoption an average 1 tonne/ha. Partners have all reported impressive gains in production as a result of promoting SRI: •

Padek reported an average production of 3t/ha by 1,982 newly trained farmers in 2011/12. In one province achieved 2.3t/ha - corresponding to 8 times conventional method yields. Average yield across all farmers was 2.89t/ha.

•

Rachana reported an increase from 1.97 t/ha to 3.56 t/ha. This was done with a reduction in chemical fertiliser use. 100% of the interviewed farmers reported increasing the size of SRI land to have significantly improved the condition of their fields.

•

Srer Khmer reported an average production under SRI of 3.41 t/ha for 2012. Project trained farmers observed substantial yield gains from SRI fields compared to those cultivated with conventional practices. Farmers also say that SRI practices will help them to maintain quality seeds and high yields in the future.

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There is strong evidence to suggest that the yield gains from SRI have been more environmentally sustainable than input intensification methods relying on modified seeds and chemical fertiliser/pesticide application. SRI can result in a dramatic decrease in use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. SRI also leads to more efficient use of water resources, well suited to strategies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk mitigation. Further work is needed however to capture strong verifiable data on the environment dividend from using the SRI technique.

Household income and food security There is evidence from the FLAIR work by OA partners that shifting to SRI rice cultivation increases household income1. These results were consistent in the Rachana target province, strongly indicating that households have made net gains as a result of SRI adoption. However, more work is needed to understand how these profitability gains in SRI relate to other household and farm level decisions.

Gender diversity in agriculture The FLAIR program has been proactive with partners in supporting the active participation of women in SRI. Consequently, some 64% of farmers trained by the three program partners were women (SRI data, 2013). There is considerable anecdotal evidence demonstrating that women’s participation in these processes has often been an empowering experience for them. In addition to the higher level of women participating in trainings, it was found that women applied SRI practices more actively and participated in the groups more actively than men2. Findings from the PMEL process3, however, highlighted the importance of household gender dynamics for SRI adoption. Evidence points to the fact that in some cases participation in SRI training does not necessarily result in women being able to influence SRI adoption decisions.

Farmer Voice OA has encouraged program partners to strengthen farmer voice at the commune level by inviting commune councilors to participate in field days and SRI Farmers 1 Rachana study of 50 HH in 2011 shows HH income increasing from USD1566 to USD2115 over 2 years. 2 Padek, 2012b 3 PMEL synthesis workshop results, December 2012 8 | Completion Report

8 Progress Report


Forums. Srer Khmer has also established Farmers’ Associations with a view to them to being platforms for identifying issues and working together to address problems and influence communes policy and budget. At the national level Oxfam has supported the National Farmers’ Forum as a platform for a cross-section of farmers to articulate their views and issues and learn about policies and policy implications.

Adopting and adapting SRI There is clear evidence that farmers do innovate and make adaptations. For example, farmers supported through the FLAIR program have adopted diverse means of doing row planting that they find more convenient. Farmers also use their own judgement to make decisions about which elements of SRI to adopt and which they consider less important depending on their financial situation. FLAIR partners note that farmers often give ‘lack of trust in SRI’ as a reason for nonadoption, underlining the need for partners to work closely with the farmers on resolving constraints. Government agriculture extension services exist at the district level but not at commune level. Even provincial and district extension services are underresourced and inconsistent. The FLAIR program has been building links between farmers and commune councils, resulting in many communes taking on a much more supportive role.

Weeding machines OA utilized Makino funding to support Rachana, a local NGO based in Takeo province, to conduct a study on the use of various weeding tools. Farmers from 55 villages in 5 communes in Takeo province were involved in the study. Rice field mechanical weeding tools are potentially very useful labour savings devices, well suited to the SRI technique (where seedlings are planted in rows). The study particularly focused on the level of interest of women in the use of various weeding tools. This study set out to improve the quality of weeding tools used in a number of countries and by CEDAC-supported farmers in Cambodia. Local manufacturers made and improved the trial weeding tools, based on feedback from farmers. Unit price of the manufactured preferred weeding tool was below USD20.

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There were at total of 207 farmers involved in the study, 140 of whom were women famers. The intensive field trials found that three models of the preferred weeding tools have different advantages on various types of soil, weeds and level of water. It was also observed that the soil of SRI fields where the weeding tool is used is well aerated and the weeds are virtually destroyed and turned into the green manure. It is also well documented elsewhere that aeration of the soil through use of a weeding tool provides improved oxygen to the root system of the rice, making the plant stronger. Mechanical weeding can alone increase productivity by as much as 1 tonne per hectare. The study found that mechanical weeding twice in the rice planting cycle significantly increases yield (more than just one mechanical weeding). Farmer’s interviewed were enthusiastic about the weeding tools. The study concluded that weeding tools are a very practical, affordable labour saving device that will further increase productivity of the SRI technique. OA had sought to advance the results of the study to the next phase – scaling up production, marketing and sale of the weeding machines. Unfortunately this phase was not successful; motivation for strong marketing (promotion) appears to be the missing link and 2.2 Vietnam FLAIR program has continued to concentrate support for SRI and related innovations for smallholder farmers in six provinces in northern and central northern Vietnam - Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Yen Bai, Ha Tinh and Nghe An.

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In this reporting period Oxfam has placed increased emphasis on expanding the role of the partner provincial Plant Protection Sub-Departments (PPSDs). As well as innovations including crop rotations (e.g. potatoes), support was provided to key farmer clubs, farmer technical forums and coordination amongst extension service providers. There is a graphical representation of the FLAIR strategy in Vietnam at Figure 1 (next page). Since the inception of the FLAIR program, SRI adoption in Vietnam has increased significantly. In the 2010 summer crop season, some 817,939 households applied SRI principles on 151,311 hectares across 22 provinces. In 2011, there were 1,070,384 households applying SRI, on 185,065 hectares of their rice fields. Overall, the number of households adopting SRI is reported to have reached 1.142 million in 2012, increasing five-fold from 20094. It is also noted that a large proportion (70%) of these farmers adopted only 1 to 2 of the 5 SRI principles. The SRI adoption rates in the 6 FLAIR supported provinces (see Table 2) show an 4 Source: PPD/PPSD 2013 reports obtained for the baseline study. Completion Report | 11


average SRI area of adopting households is 0.27 hectares per household, significantly above the national average of 0.17 hectares per household. If Hanoi, which has significantly lower land-holdings, is excluded from this calculation, the figure for FLAIR supported provinces rises to 0.34 hectares per household. Given that just over 80% of households (not including Hanoi province) have less than 0.5 hectares of land, this represents a significant achievement. Table 2 SRI adoption in FLAIR supported provinces Province

No. HH applying SRI

Total area applied

Average SRI area (ha/HH)

% HH having less than 0.5 ha of land

Hanoi

410,000

87,587

0.21

97.1%

Thai Nguyen

31,000

11,110

0.36

86.1%

Phu Tho

97,468

24,098

0.25

No data

Yen Bai

32,448

9,083

0.28

71.5%

Nghe An

97,100

46,540

0.48

79.5%

Ha Tinh

37,000

9,650

0.26

84.1%

Total

705,016

188,068

0.27

87.9%

Productivity gains Data from FFS and PPSDs found that SRI farmers were able to earn an additional 1.8 to 5 million VND (USD 90-250) per hectare per crop season. Total revenue from SRI practices increased by 2 million VND per ha and reduced the costs by 520 VND per kg as well as 30% reduction in the cost of water irrigation in Hanoi, Ha Nam and Thai Nguyen provinces.

Reduced costs & environment gains An assessment in northern provinces comparing SRI plots with traditional cultivation methods, found that the amount of rice seed needed is reduced on average from 40 kg/ha to 10kg/ha. Use of urea is also reduced. Reduction of input costs is an important valuable benefit from using SRI. PPSD partner reports highlight the economic and environmental benefits of SRI. For example, in Ha Tinh province farmers reported saving 50-70% in terms of seeds, applying no pesticides and increasing their profit by 15-

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Figure 1 Graphical representation of FLAIR Vietnam strategy


14 Progress Report


20% in comparison to traditional practice5. In Nghe An province, farmers were reported to have increased rice yield by 10-15%, reduced seed volume by 6080% and reduced pesticides application to just 1-2 times per crop6.

Women’s involvement in SRI FLAIR program has shown positive results in terms of the involvement of women in Vietnam. Partners have actively sought to ensure that women have participated in events organized to promote SRI and related issues. In Thai Nguyen province participation by women is 70% of the total7 while in Phu Tho more than 50% of participants were women8. Many of the women trained seem to have mastered enough confidence and knowledge to be able to train others in their communities.

Bookkeeping project FLAIR program supported a bookkeeping project with Hanoi University through to 2012 that would help farmers (particularly women farmers) to track costs and savings of their agricultural activities. This will help farmers recognize the benefits of adopting SRI. The final evaluation of project showed that women farmers were found to strongly support SRI adoption and that trained women appeared to be more confident than men when adopting SRI. Women have also been able to reduce their dependency on credit to some extent as a result of requiring fewer expensive inputs (e.g. fertilizer).

Farmer Voice PPSD who have been involved in the FLAIR program recognize the importance of listening to farmers and have been working collaboratively with farmers unions in their work on SRI9. PPSD staff from all six-target provinces recognizes that participatory approaches to working with farmers will be more effective.

5 6 7 8 9

Ha Tinh PPSD, 2012 Nghe An PPSD, 2012 Thai Nguyen PPSD, 2012 Phu Tho PPSD, 2012 Vietnam PMEL Synthesis Workshop, 2013

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SRI adoption In general, planning and implementation process in Vietnam is very topdown. However, PPSD program partners have shown very good progress in their ability to learn and adapt to a more participatory approach. Participatory techniques and facilitation skills have progressed; though more work needs to be done.

3. Financial Report

Expenditures

FLAIR Actual 11/1/2010 to May 31, 2013 McKinley

Makino Fund

General Fund Total

USD

USD

USD

USD

Personnel costs

16,886

22,935

378,286

418,107

Non-gant Program Expenditures

32,902

42,937

239,580

315,419

Grant and PWS

67,495

115,946

608,467

791,908

Contribution to Program Support and Overhead

-

18181.8

-

18,182

GRAND TOTAL

117,283

200,000

1,226,333

1,543,616

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Thank you for helping Oxfam America build a positive future now: A future free from the injustice of poverty

Oxfam america's completion report  

This is the Completion Report of the FLAIR program of Oxfam America is East Asia, submitted to Shigeki Makino.

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