RUSH-IT: (RAPID UPSCALING FOR SMALLHOLDER HOUSEHOLDS THROUGH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN CAMBODIA)
- The Rapid Upscaling for Smallholder Households Through Information Technology in Response to Covid19 in Cambodia (RUSH IT) is an emergency project of IFAD’s Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to assist rural farmers to cope with the Covid19 crisis. The Development Objective of RUSH-IT is the Goal of RPSF which is to “minimize the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods, resilience and food security of IFAD’s target group and maintain progress towards IFAD11 Impact Targets”. The project will be managed by ASPIRE and to be implemented from the 4th quarter of 2020 to the end of 2021.
- Cambodia is identified as a Medium Risk country in the COVID-19 Inform Index. Control measures adopted by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) have so far avoided a major outbreak of the disease, but the economy has been affected, particularly in the tourism and garment manufacturing sectors. Virus control measures have directly impacted on employees and casual workers in the urban service sectors, while an estimated 900,000 out-migrants have lost employment and returned to Cambodia. Economic growth is projected to slow dramatically to 2.3%.
- These shocks are being transmitted to rural areas through the dual mechanism of loss of remittance income and the return from Thailand and urban areas to home villages of large numbers of migrant workers, representing additional mouths to feed.
- The current IFAD country programme includes the ASPIRE Programme led by Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) and the AIMS project led by Ministry of Commerce (MoC). IFAD is urgently working with RGC to adapt ASPIRE and AIMS activities to respond to the COVID 19 emergency. Through this cooperation, the, smallholder production of vegetables and of backyard chicken have been identified as having potential for rapid scale-up to boost the rural economy, improve food security, create alternative work for workers who have lost jobs, and compensate for lost incomes. A third project, S-RET, is implemented in coordination with ASPIRE and supports renewable energy technologies (RET) including innovative technologies for these value chains.
- The IFAD’s support programme, ASPIRE, has taken a leading role in introducing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for smallholder agriculture. With Korean Grant financing in cooperation with ASPIRE, a multiple-use mobile application designed for smallholders “Chamka” has been developed by a private firm, Bronx Technology, and has rolled out in July 2020. To date the application has been rolled out in several provinces and has generated interests among smallholder agriculture and lead farmers.
- With Covid19 hampering physical activities in the fields, ASPIRE has been using ICT Chamka as an extension delivery tool to provide technical and market information to smallholders. Since rolling out, almost 6,000 smallholders in agriculture have download the app and some have used the application for link with technical and input suppliers to support their farming. With RUSH IT, Chamka App will be upgraded to include more features to support farmers, ID poor and non-ID poor famers to access to inputs and technical and market information.
- The key innovation of RUSH-IT is the use of IT for the majority of project communication, management and control of project-funded inputs. It is expected that this project-management use of the Chamka application will have the additional benefit of accelerating awareness, uptake and use of Chamka, thus bringing it closer to self-sustainability. The increased use of digital technology is in line with the strategy of the IFAD country programme and IFAD’s ICT4D strategy, as well as the strong policy of RGC to move towards a digital economy and readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is expected that the approach trialed on a small scale in RUSH-IT could be replicated and scaled up at loan project level in the future.
- 263 (127) CEW recruited and trained (women).
- 4 461 HHs registered in the App.
- Received 5 415 Proposals (1 510 Proposals approved equal to $161,701.34, and rejection was 1 938 Proposals).
- 93 Verified Proposals.
- 855 HHs received Inputs (68 ID poor and 803 non-ID poor).
- 4 141 HHs received technical training climate smart/resilient technologies on veg and chicken production.