Featured Item: July 27, 2012
On July 25, 2012, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) announced that Yang Saing Koma (at right), president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), was among the six individuals that will receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2012. The award is given to "persons - regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender - who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better." According to an article in the Asian Journal, Koma is being recognized for "his creative fusion of practical science and collective will that has inspired and enabled vast numbers of farmers in Cambodia to become more empowered and productive contributors to their country's economic growth."
Fifteen years after Koma founded CEDAC with a team of seven and the help of a French non-government organization, it has become the largest agricultural and rural development NGO in Cambodia. According to information provided by the RMAF, the "linchpin" of CEDAC's success was the introduction of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which gradually spread from 28 farmers introduced to SRI in 2000 to 100,000 rice farmers, with a 61% increase in rice yields, reductions in seeds and chemical fertilizers use, and an increase in organic fertilizer use by 85%. In 2005, the Cambodian government officially endorsed SRI as a rice production strategy. Today, CEDAC is reportedly supporting 140,000 farmer families in twenty-one provinces. CEDAC's work has also been credited as a major factor in this increase in Cambodia's rice production from 3.82 million tons to 7.97 million tons between 2002 and 2010. Koma and the other five Magsaysay laureates (who come from the Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Taiwan) will receive their awards at formal presentation ceremonies held annually in Manila on August 31. He will give a public presentation at the the Ramon Magsaysay Center in Manila, Philippines, on August 29, 2012.
(More info, see KI-Media article and Koma's RMA profile).
- Bihar Government Officials to Receive Prime Minister's Award
According to Anil Verma (PRADAN-Gaya/Bihar), four officials from the Government of Bihar, India, have been approved by the state government to receive the Prime Minister's Award for their efforts in promoting the System of Rice Intensification and addressing the issue of food security. The awards, which will be presented in New Delhi, will go to the following officials from the the Government of Bihar in Patna:
- The Agriculture Production Commissioner
- Mr. Parvinder Singh, Director, Agriculture
- Mrs Vijay Laxmi, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, and
- Mr. Anil Kumar Jha, Expert, Department of Agriculture
- Bihar Farmer Wins ICAR's Jagjivan Ram Award
On July 16, 2012, Mr. Santosh Yadav, a farmer from Bodh Gaya Block in Bihar, received the Jagjivan Ram Award from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in New Delhi. Yadav was recognized for his integrated farming system, which includes applying SRI methods (and adapting them to wheat, and rapeseed), developing an animal feed center, and making a commercially viable vermicompost unit. The prize, which was awarded by Mr. Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture, included Rs 100,000 and a certificate. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, was also present at the ceremony.