Creating a path for scaling mechanized direct-seeded rice in Cambodia

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Participatory mDSR field trials in Takeo Province during the 2023 wet season. (Photo by A. Pame/IRRI)

Mechanized direct-seeded rice (mDSR) provides a potential solution to climate change as well as rice production constraints. Our recent study shows that rice farmers in Cambodia can potentially have higher yields of up to 0.9 tons/ha and 40% higher profits from mDSR. While we were able to demonstrate the benefits of using mDSR+Best Agricultural Practices, we also observed several challenges to the adoption of mDSR and improving rice yields in some of the farmers’ fields.

A Cambodian farmer using mechanized row seeder. (Photo: IRRI-Cambodia)

Almost 100% of the rice farmers in Cambodia have shifted from manual transplanting to broadcast direct seeding because of problems with the availability of labor. However, the shift has introduced a different set of challenges including the use of high seed rates, limited knowledge of and access to mechanization, losses from weeds and pests, and lodging. All these have led to lower yields and profits. Furthermore, rice production in the country has been affected by climate change.

Mechanized direct-seeded rice (mDSR) provides a potential solution to climate change as well as rice production constraints. Our recent study shows that rice farmers in Cambodia can potentially have higher yields of up to 0.9 tons/ha and 40% higher profits from mDSR.

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