Practical solutions for soil conservation are needed to ensure sustainable food production. Conservation agriculture and the use of cover crops are promising strategies for soil improvement in agricultural systems. These strategies are being promoted in Cambodia to address rapidly declining soil fertility; however, there is a lack of insight into the perceptions of Cambodian smallholders towards cover cropping within a conservation agriculture approach. A greater understanding of the utilization and perceptions of cover crops is needed to increase adoption and prevent further soil degradation. This study utilized a mixed methods approach with quantitative data from a farmer survey and qualitative data gathered from follow-up interviews with farmers. Analysis shows that farmers understand what conservation agriculture is and reported benefits, including increased yields, after practicing conservation agriculture. Conservation agriculture was viewed as a way to protect the environment and increase soil fertility, particularly by using cover crops. However, farmers reported that the use of cover crops as part of a conservation agriculture approach faces challenges, preventing further adoption. Understanding the benefits and challenges for farmers can help improve adoption, leading to improved soil and more resilient agricultural systems. Further research on how to address the challenges presented by farmers is needed.
Nickens, P., Ader, D. R., Miller, II, M. C., Srean , P., Gill, T., & Huot, S. (2023). Conservation agriculture and cover crop adoption by smallholder farmers in Cambodia: Understanding perceptions, challenges, and opportunities for soil improvement. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(4), 39–48. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v4i4.387