524 vegetable farmers, a total of 3,730 farmers, 2,641 women, are practicing four potential agricultural products throughout Kampong Thom province, including vegetables, chickens, rice and cassava were volunteer to be the member of the vegetable producer organizations of the Accelerating Inclusive Markets for Smallholder project (AIMS). Currently, the AIMS project has been implemented in eight districts, including Kampong Svay, Baray, Santuk, Stoang, Sandan, Prasat Sambo, Prasat Balang and Stung Sen districts. At the same time, the project has a technical partner, Kaksethan Lors Thmey company (KLT) has been trained in techniques for growing vegetables as a family and as a business.
The smallholder family vegetable growing program is very important for the livelihood of the people, especially the women who are members of the vegetable producing organization. The AIMS project is a joint project of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under a financing agreement signed on 28 February 2017.
Separately, the farmers in the target of the AM project have participated in 22 technical training courses on family and business vegetable farming, with a total of 558 participants, including 387 women. Farmers also conducted field demonstrations and field days with the same farmers 44 times, with a total of 494 participants, 371 females, through Kasethan Lors Thmey company that is a technical partner of the project and receive some budget support, some materials to help increase farmers’ production better through the Value Chain Innovation Fund (Grant Fund) for 90 families equal to $ 79,329.
Lvea Chom village is one of the 20 villages in Trapaing Russey commune, Kampong Svay district, Kampong Thom province. This village is about 20 km from Stung Sen town and about 6 km from Kampong Svay district. Most of the people who live there grow rice and grow vegetables, which is the main occupation of their family, while the secondary occupation is fishing and migration to find work because this village is located near Preyprors river.
Sieng Khim is 46 and Neang Net is 45, has four dependent children, two girls, both are the farmers and vegetable growers. They are the member of the Vegetable Producing Organization at Lvea Chom village of the AIMS project. Sieng Khim said, “He has 2 hectares of land that can grow all kinds of vegetables. In the past, her family was very difficult because of the lack of livelihood. Livelihoods and diets depend on farming alone, with no specific occupation for additional income. In addition to some fishing for extra income only. She continued that “Farming is not regular because the land in Lvea Chom village is sandy and drought-prone almost every year. Some years there is almost no water throughout the season, there is little or no rain, and fishing is not full too.” As for their farming, they expect only rainwater because there is no canal system or any lake can draw water to use, and the water of the lake is dry, especially in the dry season farming is not very effective. Due to this reason, she and her husband started to grow vegetables near their house as a family and sell some to make a living, with her husband helping to transport vegetables by tuk tuk after her free from farming.
With a smile on her face, one hand picked the beans, she said “ After joining the AIMS project through the project team to create a vegetable producer organization in the village, I always attend regular meetings and listen to the instructions on how to grow vegetables according to the technique of organizing the team work, and the meeting on negotiating the value chain with the trader directly made my family and I, as well as the villagers, very happy. Every time I attended every meeting with other villagers, it helped us to understand what is the way of working in a team, self-help through cultivation practice, especially in absorbing technical knowledge, addited on growing vegetables for sale as a family as well as for local businesses through the project’s technical partners.” She continued, “I am very happy that one day I and the villagers were invited by the AIMS project team to participate in a group training on agricultural techniques (vegetable growing) with the Kasethan Lors Thmey company. It gave me a lot of knowledge about growing crops such as soil preparation, seed selection, soil mixing for nursery, raising, maintenance, harvesting and so on. By the way, in 2021, I received an Value Chain Innovation Fund (Grants Fund) from the project of $ 951 to purchase materials such as pipes, nets, tripod systems, wooden poles and other materials for the cropping process. It largely relieved my burden and better able.
Mrs. Sieng Sokhim continued, holding a pair of scissors to cut the leaves of the tree, with a happy smile on her face, “Nowaday, my family grows vegetables, most of which are fruity and leafy vegetables, such as cucumbers, long beans, wintermelons, luffa gourds, bitter gourds, etc. on an area of about half a hectare at the egde of the village near my house, and I planted anise basil after participating in the technique. At this time, I have harvested some vegetables, cucumbers, wintermelons, luffa gourds , long beans to sell to local traders of the AIMS project, as well as village traders, and some to Stung Sen Market (Old Market). I can harvest 150 to 200 kilograms of long beans, wax gourds, and spong gourds (one crop cycle can be harvested from one to one and a half months) and I can sell per kilogram from 1,500 riel to 2,500 riel (If the season is not rich in vegetables, I can sell from 2,500 to 6,000 riel per kilogram) in average of a day. For this rainy season, I harvest about 70 to 80 kg per each kind (because most of the land is flooded at the end of this year can not grow vegetables), while anise basil is also harvested for sale too. She added, “The sale of fruity vegetables such as cucumbers, watermelons, sponge
gourds, bitter gourds, long beans, etc .. and this anise basil, it is not so difficult, as a large number of vegetables are picked up by traders, and a few left I can pick them up to the market by myself, share to villagers and for myself.
As for Ho Kim Lis, a farmer who is helping Ms. Sieng Sokhim to pick long beans, expressed her happiness at this time, because not only her family or Sieng Sokhim’s family, even other farmers in the villages for all member of AIMS projects, they are happy to participate in all the coordination meetings as organized by the project team. It not only provides them with knowledge on value chains market and new cultivation techniques, they also receive support from the value chain innovation fund and the sector development facility. With the help of the project, his family turned to growing and maintain the vegetables near his home for selling to get income instead, on the other hand, their children or families do not have to migrate to work far away as before and not only can earn enough to handle a better life. She also thanked the Accelerating Inclusive Markets for Smallholders project for helping her family and her entire vegetable production organization.
Finally, Mrs. Seang Sokhim added, “As a member of the producing organization among the other members in the village and in the Trapaing Russey vegetable cluster, I am very pleased and happy for practice family farming for business because it can reduce both the cost of buying vegetables from outside and help my family as well as other members have extra income, market relations with local and outside traders, especially the target market in Phnom Penh. At the same time, I would like to request all people whether they are project beneficiaries or non-project benefactors to try and grow vegetables, whether small or large but please do it with every family for doing business to increase the family income and to divert the business from migration to grow vegetables like our family.
It is suggested that the AIMS project should continue to support and seek other technical partners to assist old and new producing organization members to implement the project’s good practices to reach more target farmers who have not yet grown vegetables for family and vegetable growing are also businesses. Moreover, to increase the ability to produce new knowledge and increase the income of farmers’ families better. [Download]