Cambodia: Laser leveling reintroduced

 Leah Cruz   |  

The Department of Agricultural Engineering (DAEng) demonstrated laser leveling in the rice fields of Don Bosco School and Toul Samrong Agricultural Engineering Development Center in Battambang Province and in a farmer’s rice field at Kandal Province.

The resurgence of laser-leveling comes as the country attempts to ease labor shortage through the use of agricultural machinery, such as combine harvesters.

The ADB-IRRI Postharvest Project supported the field demonstrations by imparting techniques and providing laser kits. The DAEng contributed a bucket and an 82-HP tractor that has been used for laser leveling in target areas since 2011.

Laser leveling activities have been continuously implemented by DAEng with support from the Agricultural Value Chain Program or CAVAC, Australian Programme, and the Kampot Provincial Department of Agriculture at Sdach Kong Khang Cheung Commune, Banteay Meas District, Kampot Province. Thirty hectares of farmers’ rice fields were laser-leveled from end of April 2012 to mid-June 2012.

Beneficiaries and stakeholders have seen the merits of the technology enough to adopt it. During the field day on laser leveling at the pilot project in Kampot Province on 9th September 2012,
It also attracted the interest of Chan Sarun, minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, who recommended putting laser leveling into the national programme.

Laser land-leveling was introduced in Cambodia by IRRI in 1997, with about 200 rice fields around the Tonle Sap Great Lake leveled using it. Joseph Rickman, IRRI scientist, and experts from the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institution (CARDI) and DAEng introduced laser leveling then to Cambodian farmers through training activities and field demonstrations. The operation, however, was halted after the project ended, largely because the technology was not widely known in Cambodia at the time and adaptation was low.

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