February Field Trip

Associate Professor Brian Cook, Dr Van Touch and Dr Caitlin Finlayson made a 10-day field trip to Cambodia, in February, 2023. This field trip was part of the project Next Generation Agricultural Extension: Social relations for practice change.

The trip involved meeting with project partners including Macquarie University, National University of Battambang (NUBB), Partners for Rural Development (PRD), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF).

Brian, Caitlin and Van, alongside Associate Professor Andrew McGregor from Macquarie University, facilitated a participatory workshop and photo diary presentation with our 8 research assistants from PRD; conducted a participatory network mapping workshop with a farmer group in Pailin, in collaboration with PDAFF; and delivered course content for NUBB on Social Network Analysis with undergraduate and postgraduate students. Researchers also attended a thinking theatre production, produced by our partner Lakhon Komnit, which was based on research findings from the preceding project; Uptake of agricultural technologies and best practices amongst farmers in Battambang and Pailin provinces, Cambodia.

The field trip confirmed that the research issue being addressed is still relevant with farmers being socially, spatially and economically disconnected from each other, from centres of power, and from commodity chains. Both workshops undertaken during the field trip highlighted these disconnections.

A standout outcome from this field trip were the skills and capacity of the 8 research assistants employed through project partner PRD. The research assistants showed in-depth knowledge of the spatial and relational context and farmers’ livelihoods, and an ability to analyse and discuss the farmers, farms and farming practices. The field trip also showed how the project was making a beneficial contribution to the curriculum at NUBB for the students and faculty staff.

To read the full field trip report, click here.