SEARCA, RUA CE SAIN Introduce Edible Landscaping in Cambodia’s Mini-Agri Technology Parks

A Technical Training on Edible Landscaping for the Establishment and Enhancement of Agricultural Technology Parks (ATPs) and Mini-ATPs in Cambodia kicked off in Siem Reap province yesterday, according to a news release of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

Jointly organised by the Philippines-based SEARCA and the Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition (CE SAIN) of the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA), the three-day training will run until May 25.

“Edible landscaping is a practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting that uses edibles in a landscape design,” said SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn Gregorio.

“It enhances a garden set-up with unique ornamental components entwined with additional health, aesthetic, and economic benefits. Students will thus appreciate the science of agricultural farming as well as the art of elements and principles of landscape designs,” Gregorio expounded.

Dr. Gerlie Tatlonghari, SEARCA Programme Head for Research and Thought Leadership, said through its School-plus-Home Gardens cum Biodiversity Enhancement Enterprise, SEARCA aims to improve and strengthen the school and home gardens in Cambodia and enhance its ATPs and mini-ATPS as learning platforms through research and internships and as venues for local and private sector engagements.

High school teachers as well as school garden and nutrition coordinators from four partner high schools in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap will participate in the training, which includes lectures and hands-on activities.

“They are expected to gain technical know-how on crop production and garden set-up structures applicable to its ATPs and mini-ATPs. They will also learn the basic techniques in designing, implementing, and maintaining edible landscape gardens,” Gregorio said.

Dr. Nur Azura Adam, SEARCA Deputy Director for Programmes and Associate Professor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Faculty of Agriculture, joined Dr. Lyda Hok, CE SAIN Director, in welcoming the training participants and motivating them to actively engage in the learning activities.

An entomologist, Dr. Nur will also give lectures on beneficial insects and natural enemies as well as principles of integrated pest management.

A demonstration on how to produce organic concoctions and extracts as plant growth enhancers and sustainable alternatives to chemical-based fertilisers will be given by Asst. Prof. Bryan V. Apacionado of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Agriculture and Food Science.

According to Gregorio, the training is an offshoot of a collaboration of SEARCA and CE SAIN on an online Trainers’ Training for Integrating the School-plus-Home Gardens cum Biodiversity Enhancement Enterprise (SHGBEE) in the Establishment of ATPs and Mini-ATPs in Cambodia held from November 2021 to March 2022.

“It was designed to educate and facilitate knowledge sharing on the establishment of school and home gardens, integrate the key concepts of agriculture and food in lesson plans or academic curriculums, and promote strategies that will inspire and motivate the youth in Cambodia to pursue agriculture-related courses,” Gregorio explained.

He said the participants deemed edible landscaping as relevant to setting up aesthetic garden structures in ATPs and mini-ATPs.

The training will be capped by a field visit to mini-ATPs in Siem Reap and a presentation of the participants’ updated action plans that will serve as inputs to SEARCA and CE SAIN’s SHGBEE participatory action research project in Cambodia.

Source: Agence Kampuchea Presse