Assessing land suitability for crop diversification in Cambodia
Opportunities for poverty alleviation in Cambodian agriculture are emerging in diversification from traditional wet season lowland rice (Oryza sativa) production to double-cropped, rice-based production systems and to upland cropping. The potential for double-cropping rice-based production will depend on understanding land capability for a range of non-rice crops in the lowlands of Cambodia. In addition, there are relatively large areas of land available for the expansion of upland cropping especially since the establishment of improved security and roads in rural Cambodia. The process of crop diversification in Cambodia could be facilitated by assessment ofland suitability for field crops in lowlands and in uplands.
Land capability needs to be assessed for a range of field crops with realistic prospects for specific agro-ecosystems in Cambodia. Maize, soybean, mung bean, sesame and peanut appear to be the food crops of most interest initially, together with cassava and sugar cane. Usually soil constraints are assessed for land capability classification from published land resource studies. Such information is generally unavailable for uplands in Cambodia at an appropriate scale. Hence further land resource assessment in the upland areas is needed to undertake a more comprehensive land suitability assessment. Whilst a soil map for lowland rice has been published, soil constraints for non-rice crops have not been assessed for these soils.
Land suitability is currently being determined for selected field crops that are relevant to landscapes in the study areas in Takeo, Kampong Cham and Battambang provinces. Toposequences in these provinces will be surveyed to characterise soils based on a variety of parent materials. In the lowlands, the focus will be on the identification of land suitability for double cropping (e.g. legume-rice, rice-legume) in rice-based systems. In the uplands, the focus will be on rainfed field crops that can be introduced into or expanded in Cambodia. The highest priority will be assigned to those crops that are already well established in Cambodia, including maize, soybean, and mung bean. Socio-economic input to land suitability assessment will be in the form of a GIS approach that will adjust land capability values spatially according to three key drivers of crop diversification: market access factors, population pressure, and poverty indicators.
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Environmental Science|
|Series Name:||CARDI Soil and Water Science Technical Note No. 1.|
|Notes:||Also In: Proceedings of the Land Resource Assessment Forum, held at CARDI, Cambodia 23-26 September 2004.|
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