A ‘Green Fungi’ improves farmers’ life

In supporting the farmers’ use of Trichoderma and other biocontrol agents (BCAs), GIZ’s ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems’ project (ASEAN SAS) provides capacity development measures, technical know-how, and establishes a national network and discussion forum to enhance learning among farmers and relevant stakeholders. In this respect GIZ, in collaboration with HARVEST Cambodia (USAID funded) and the Cambodian’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), organized the 2nd National Biocontrol Agents (BCA) Forum in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 28-29 July 2015 bringing public sector and other regulators, practitioners, extension workers, academia and the private sector together to share experiences and present BCA-related products.

Cucumber using biocontrol products.

Long bean at the trichoderma field trial.

One of the forum’s participants, Dr. Kean Sophea, Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from Cambodia and his team have been conducting research on Trichoderma in the past ten years.

“So far, a lot of chemicals are used with bad effects. I think the better way is to use organic fertilizer, as it is safe for people and the environment,” says Dr. Sophea. During the ten years, he and his team have experimented Trichoderma with different kinds of value crops such as vegetables, rice, fruit trees and black pepper. All showed better yields by about 20 to 30 per cent compared to the control groups.

Durians, for example, do not only yield better and give more fruits, but also mature earlier. Dr. Sophea emphasizes that there are no known negative effects to humans of the application of Trichoderma. However, it would not be advisable to eat or inhale the spores of the fungus. Farmers are advised to store the product safely and use protective masks while spraying.

Trichoderma based product.

To demonstrate the practical application and the benefits of Trichoderma, field visits were part of the the 2nd National BCA Forum’s agenda. At the farmlands of Mr Song and Mrs Yan more than 150 participants witnessed the usefulness of green fungi and earned their own impressions of what BCA have to offer.

Story and photos by Kristina Spantig, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems

For information, please refer to http://www.asean-agrifood.org/a-green-fungi-improves-farmers-life/

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