Opportunities for Honours/Masters research in Cambodia

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Bob Farquharson meeting with researchers and students from CARDI (Cambodian Agricultural Research & Development Institute) outside of Phnom Penh.

The Cambodian project on farmer decision making has recently begun, and we are pleased to make this call for Honours and Masters researchers. While we are open to student-led projects and ideas, we also have several topics that we would support.

Following a recent field visit, there are pressing research questions relating to: 1) on-farm labour and the decision to adapt farming practices to enable off-farm subsidy of household income. 2) ‘Hidden changes to the agricultural sector’. For example, farmers are leaving the farm to work in cities, though they will not sell the land and will continue to call themselves ‘farmers’. As a result there is a leasing and lending of land – resulting in larger farm sizes – that goes unnoticed in official records. The associated transition of the labour force is, similarly, unrecognised. 3) Tractor Manufacturers Plans for the Provision of Mechanisation in Cambodia, which will involve interviews with tractor companies operating

A young farmer preparing for the coming rainy season.
A young farmer preparing for the coming rainy season.

in Cambodia to see how they project and are planning to develop/meet demand for the evolving system. 4) A Cassava Case Study, which will explore the Battambong region, in which farmers have rapidly evolved from Soy to Rice/Maize to Cassava, challenging the claims that farmers are slow to evolve or adapt. Through interviews with farmers, students will assess the reasoning behind the widespread change to Cassava and test whether there is an understanding of the detrimental impacts on soil fertility.

Many examples of 'poor' land management, leading to questions concerning 'why' farmers do what they do.
Many examples of ‘poor’ land management, leading to questions concerning ‘why’ farmers do what they do.

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