|Title:||Agroecology: Organic Farming in Cambodia|
Mr and Ms Keo, who live in Sa Ang District of Kandal Province in Cambodia with their four children, ages ranging from 8 to 16 years old, know how it is to live in a debt cycle. For many years, they grew vegetables the conventional way like most other farmers in the district. Sustainable practices and technology adoption changed the fate of the family in 2014, when they were approached by Ms Bun Sieng, who had just started a small business to facilitate market access for small farmers producing organic vegetables.[more like this...]
|License type:||Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO|
|Size (cm):||803.60 MB; 1920 x 1080 pixels; 5 minutes 36 seconds;|
|Date Created:||30/03/2018 12:59:49|
In Cambodia, about one third of the population lives below or only slightly above the poverty line and is vulnerable to food system shocks (price fluctuation, natural hazards, etc.). About 90% of the poor live in rural areas and poverty prevalence is high among households practicing agriculture as the only income generation activity. Many rural households are stuck in debt cycles: they borrow money to be able to send their children to school, to buy farming inputs or for food daily expenditures.
Mr and Ms Keo, who live in Sa Ang District of Kandal Province in Cambodia with their four children, ages ranging from 8 to 16 years old, know how it is to live in a debt cycle. For many years, they grew vegetables the conventional way like most other farmers in the district. Sustainable practices and technology adoption changed the fate of the family in 2014, when they were approached by Ms Bun Sieng, who had just started a small business to facilitate market access for small farmers producing organic vegetables.
Mr and Ms Keo did not only stop using chemicals: they changed their practices to follow organic standards, designed rotations and mixed cropping with more than 20 kinds of vegetables on 1,200 m2 of land. Low and fluctuating prices were not the only reason for the couple to change their practices, chemical farming affected their health as well.
In 2016, Ms Sieng, trained as PGS trainer in an FAO project, suggested to join a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). In a PGS, farmers meet on a regular basis to make sure they comply with the organic standards, while improving their farming practices through knowledge sharing. Through PGS, other stakeholders like consumers and local government representatives also participate in guaranteeing the organic practices. Through farm visits, trust is built and values are shared. Consumers are willing to pay more for PGS-certified organic products, as they trust the food they put on their plates has been produced sustainably and free of harmful inputs.
Being part of the PGS initiative offers stable market access to Mr and Ms Keo. The production plan is made jointly by Ms Sieng and the farmers and she sells most of the vegetables in Phnom Penh through her own organic shops and wholesale. She pays farmers a fixed price much higher than the price set by market intermediaries. For example, for Choi Sum, Ms Sieng pays KHR 2 000 - 3 000 (USD 0.50-0.74) per kg, while the others paid only KHR 500 (USD 0.12) per kg.
The livelihood of the Keo family improved significantly since they started selling PGS-certified organic vegetables. They now have an annual income as high as USD 5 600. They were not only able to pay back all their debt, but they can send their children to school and will build a new family home. The nutrition of the family has improved, they can afford all the food they like, but more importantly have plenty of healthy organic vegetables all year round from their own farm. The success of Mr Keo and Ms Keo is also influencing neighbours: the group expanded from 9 to 20 farmers and more are asking to join.
This FAO project was implemented 2015-2017 together with the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (Cambodia). Key partners: IFOAM – Organics International, Asian Development Bank and Earth Net Foundation. Facilitating organizations: Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), Center for Organic Development (COD), Caritas Cambodia and Natural Agriculture Village (NAV)
LOCATION: Cambodia: Kandal Province, Sa Ang District, Svay Prateal Commune, Baren Loer Village
DATE: October 2017
AUDIO: Natural, Khmer
00.00 Various of Mrs and Mr Keo picking vegetables in their farm
00.14 Various of Mrs and Mr Keo preparing compost
00.36 Various of farm
00.47 Detail of seedlings
00.50 Various of PGS Peer Review
01.11 Bung Sieng walking through the farm with Mr Keo
01.14 Various of weighing and loading Keo’s products on Natural Agriculture Village truck / truck leaving farm
01.37 Various of Bung Sieng shop / detail of organic vegetable on sale
02.02 Various of food preparing and family meal
02.36 SOTs Mrs Keo, Farmer (Khmer):
1. Income from the vegetables can support my children to study and get upper grades, good marks, and they also study hard
2. It is better than before that we used only chemicals vegetables, now we eat only our vegetables, so our health is good. Moreover, it is different, one is good taste, while other one is not taste at all and smell pesticide; our vegetables have no smell at all.
02.57 SOTs Mr Nov Keo, Farmer (Khmer):
1. Since I grow organic vegetables for the Natural Agriculture Village, there have been a lot of changes: I was in debt when I grew chemical vegetables. I did instalment payments and left some for food and my children study.
2. Now I have no more worries about debt due to pesticide expenses, I have paid all since a long time and have been saving money for my new house construction materials and timbers. I also bought insurance for my son to continue his studies, so he can continue my work and reach the goal. My son is also interested in the work.
3. Each year, we change from 20 to 21 different vegetable types, change always, cannot grow the same crop because growing the same crop make the soil unfertile and [vegetables] tasteless.
4. As we use a lot of compost such as liquid compost and dry compost, so from year to year, the soil becomes very fertile, making healthy vegetables.
04.27 SOTs Bung Sieng, Local entrepreneur, PGS Trainer (Khmer):
1. PGS [Participated Guarantee System] is a Quality Guarantee System for Organic Agriculture, which is low cost for small farmer groups, who can share knowledge; and certified with active participation from relevant stakeholders such as markets, consumers and technical people.
2. What I have done with farmers about PGS, first I did analyze the location to see whether we could apply PGS, if appropriate for the PGS guidelines. Second, if there weren’t problems with the location, I set up their group. Next, I trained them about PGS and monitored whether they properly recorded, filed enough documents, participated in the quality controls. We also informed relevant stakeholders, so they could join us to control quality, as well as sharing knowledge from one farmer to another and between growers and consumers.