The principal function of the group is a supportive and collaborative role in assisting the Government to progress agricultural development in Cambodia.
The TWGAW provides a mechanism at technical level for Government-donor coordination in the agriculture sector that includes water resource management. The working group will aims to
identify sector priorities,
improve the utilization and mobilization of resources, and
support efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector’s capacity to contribute to economic growth and to include the poor in this process.
In this respect, the TWGAW provides a link between high-level policy dialogue and field implementation/project work. It helps translate high-level policy goals (formulated in SEDP II/NPRS/Rectangular Strategy and similar documents) into sector-related programs and projects, and, conversely, ensures identification of policy goals that are realistic. This will help all stakeholders to fully participate in the agriculture-related development dialogue.
In the context of the TWGAW, agriculture comprises the production, processing and marketing of food and industrial crops as well as livestock and poultry.
Agriculture-related water resource management is mainly related to irrigation but in principle also includes water saving techniques and more efficient use of water in crop production.
The Cambodian Agricultural Research Fund (CARF), established in 2002 with AusAID and ACIAR co-funding, provides Cambodian scientists with opportunities to identify research priorities and design demand-driven agricultural research projects, compete for agricultural research funds and lead the selected projects. Over the last few years ACIAR has diversified its R&D provider base in Cambodia. The Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) is expected to continue as a key research provider in the rice-based farming systems area. However, in studies of horticulture, livestock, fisheries and economics, and in assessments of community impacts from research, additional partners are important. These include national and provincial departments under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology; and the Ministry for Rural Development. Other partners include universities and agricultural colleges; and a range of non-government, community-based and private sector organisations. Considerable progress has been made in developing the scientific expertise of a number of Australian-trained Cambodian researchers who are poised to contribute significantly to the development of Cambodian agriculture. ACIAR's focus is on continuing individual capacity building through postgraduate training and mentoring of Cambodian scientists through project involvement as well as supporting the development of major research-providing institutions through partnership with international counterparts in research and extension projects. ACIAR will also maintain an emphasis on short-course training in areas such as R&D priority-setting and management, enhancing research- extension linkages; scientific proposal and report writing in English; and experimental design and analysis. This also includes training and technical assistance with production of the Cambodian Journal of Agriculture.
ACIAR's program has a focus on the southern provinces (Kampot, Takeo, Kandal, Prey Veng and Kampong Cham), two Tonle Sap provinces (Kampong Thom and Siem Reap), and two north-western provinces (Battambang and Pailin, mainly emphasising non-rice field crops). These provinces were selected on the basis of access to emerging domestic and international (Thailand, Vietnam) markets and as key production locations for the agreed priority crops and ruminant livestock. The geographic focus of CAVAC is Takeo, Kampot and Kampong Thom. Where possible, ACIAR will establish linkages with other donor programs.