Messages from the Guest Editors

Dr. Ricky Bates

Pennsylvania State University, USA

Dr. David Ader

University of Tennessee, USA

Dear colleagues,

In the past few decades, most food production has been based on high-input and resource-intensive farming systems at a high cost to the environment, and as a result, soil, forests, water, air quality and biodiversity continue to degrade. Exacerbating that problem, rapid population growth and urbanization have increased the demand for food production with less water, nutrients, and energy use. This situation is unsustainable and we need to develop and implement more sustainable and innovative food systems that offer healthy and nutritious food, and also preserve the environment. 

The purpose of the Asian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Safety (AJAES) is to provide a venue for researchers who are addressing issues of sustainable agriculture including transitions towards agricultural and rural sustainability at farm, community, regional, national and international levels, through food supply chains. It is aimed at helping Cambodian scientists to share their research findings and improve their writing skills. AJAES addresses the critical need for information on the status of sustainable agriculture and management requirements of Cambodian agriculture. 

This issue of Asian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Safety presents a collection of five articles that each address aspects of sustainable production in the Cambodian system. Starting with Vernet et al, the authors present findings related to soil conservation and no till agriculture. Alternative management systems like no-till production require specialized machinery and the labour to use it. This article shows that although no-till planters are useful to provide more sustainable agriculture, policy improvements and service provision changes are necessary to increase the availability of those planters. 

Vegetable production is also a major part of Cambodian agriculture. Hydroponic techniques for vegetable production are currently becoming popular as a tool for sustainable agriculture. Khin et al present results that determine plant growth and development using hydroponic systems and the application of macronutrients (N, K, Ca, Mg and S) via drip irrigation. Their experiments show that using hydroponic systems can optimize the application of macronutrients for improved production of vegetables crops. 

Dy et al also show results related to vegetable production. They focus on temperature and how high temperature is one of the most unfavourable factors which affects biochemical, morphological, and physiological facets of tomato production. Their research shows the performance of various tomato genotypes under high temperature and that variety is a major factor to improved production. Further study on agronomic practices such as crop rotation, pest controls, grafting, etc. should be investigated to enhance the productivity of these potential genotypes. 

Peuo et al investigate variety as a major factor in agriculture production, specifically variation in yield between varieties of Cassava. Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is one of the most important upland crops in Cambodia. However, there is still a shortage of information and research about yield based on variety. If the goal is to improve the production it is important to identify the varieties that offer the best chance to do so. Peuo et al used data from Battambang and Pailin to highlight the yield variation and how management practice, like use of herbicide, can affect the production. 

Animal production is also a major part of Cambodian agriculture and feed shortage is a critical constraint for scaling-up of cattle production and productivity in Cambodia. Srean et al assess growth performance and feed intake by cattle that are fed sorghum silage compared to those that only consume the tradition diet of rice straw. The results suggested that use of sorghum silage provides a better source of fodder for gaining weight. This is due to the fact that the sorghum silage had better nutrient contents, higher crude protein, lower crude fibre, and higher energy contents than other forages and provided better growth performance and feed intake of cattle. In order to improve the sustainability of Cambodian agriculture attention needs to be paid to plants and animal production systems. 

We encourage you to contribute a research or comprehensive review article for consideration for publication in the Asian Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Safety, an international journal which provides a broad forum for research findings in areas related to agricultural innovation, sustainability and sustainable development. We are confident you will find the journal contributes to understanding of sustainability and strengthening agricultural development networks throughout Asia. We welcome and look forward to your future manuscripts.