Professor to Lead Project to Improve Agriculture in Vietnam and Cambodia
Cary Trexler, associate professor in the School of Education and
the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, received a
three-year $500,000 grant from the United States Agency for
International Development’s (USAID) Horticulture Collaborative
Research and Support Program to enhance vegetable production by
small farmers in Cambodia and Vietnam.
In partnership with colleagues in the College of Agriculture and
Environmental Sciences, Trexler will use the grant to address
some of the greatest challenges facing farmers in Cambodia and
Vietnam to grow vegetables safely and cost effectively. This is a
public health problem because only 8-9 percent of vegetables
grown in Vietnam meet government mandated food safety standards.
In Cambodia, which is one of the poorest countries in Southeast
Asia, farmers are unable to grow enough fresh vegetables, so the
country imports about 45 percent of fresh vegetables and most
“Our goal is to empower small farmers, 59 percent of whom are
women, with education and training for sustainable vegetable
production that limits post harvest losses, increases food
safety, increases market access and increases income. To help
change the current system requires an interdisciplinary approach
and requires people from historically isolated fields to work
collaboratively to solve pressing problems,” said Trexler.
Faculty from one Cambodian and two Vietnamese universities will
join the UC Davis team to research social, environmental, and
production related concerns.
An important aspect of the project includes building a model
participatory action network that links farmers together to
ensure they work collaboratively to overcome common challenges.
This will be accomplished through Farmer Field Schools and farmer
led research with cooperation with the United Nation’s Food and
Agriculture Organization and the World Vegetable Center in
Trexler’s research focuses on teaching and learning,
international agriculture development, university level reform as
well as determining what people understand about the agri-food
For the last seven years, Trexler has worked with universities
throughout Vietnam, helping them to develop innovative teaching
strategies and reform their curricula. In 2007-08, he was a
Fulbright Scholar at the Agriculture and Forestry University in
Ho Chi Minh City. He has also helped to establish Advance
Programs in three universities from the Mekong Delta to the
Mountainous regions, which were sponsored by the Vietnam Ministry
of Education and Training. Trexler has also consulted for the
Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training on secondary
teacher professional standards and university accreditation and
for the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural
Organization on secondary teacher management issues in Vietnam.