Mrs. Hem Sareth, 46, lives in Khe village in Stung Treng province. She has two daughters and three sons. The two daughters are already married, so she currently stays with her husband and the three sons.
Landlessness forced her to relocate from her homeland in Kandal province to Stung Treng province in 2009. When she first arrived, her family temporarily stayed with her brother because she had only 110, 000 Riel (US$ 27.5) to support her family. To earn more for her living, she started growing cucumber and corn on a plot of land of 2 500 square meters which she rented for 300,000 Riel (US$75) over a few months. As a result, she could support her household consumption and earned 1,460,000 Riel (365 USD). This successful experience encouraged her to extend her land lease for one more year with the fee of 1,000,000 Riel (250 USD), and she earned 3,000,000 Riel (750 USD) from her production in 2009. With increased income over the years, in 2011, she bought a plot of land of 100m x 300 m in size which cost her 12,000,000 Riel (3,000USD).
Being a farmer, she is strongly motivated to improve her agricultural techniques. Since 2011, with funding support from WWF and CEPF (the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund), CRDT selected some Extension Workers (EWs) and provided them with capacity building to enable them to transfer their sustainable agriculture skills and knowledge to the other farmers in their villages. Being one of the EWs, Mrs. Sareth mentioned that “I have applied my skills and I could see the improvement in my vegetable and corn growing. I learned how to make liquid compost. Putting the compost onto cucumber plants for a few days, they became green, then soon produced flowers and yielded fruits.”
Mrs. Sareth and her husband help each other in their farming. She said “my husband is mostly responsible for land preparation, watering, and transporting produces to the market, while I am mostly responsible for planting and negotiating with middlemen. Our shared roles are caring and harvesting the crops.”
Mrs. Sareth added with a smile that “this year by November, I earned 90,000,000 Riel (2,250USD), and I am expecting to earn 100,000 Riel (250 USD) more from cucumbers and 6,000,000 Riel (1,500 USD) more from corns. My income increased 10% compared to last year, thanks to improved agricultural techniques provided by CRDT and enough rainwater. With this income, I could send my sons to school and bought materials for the house construction. I am happy because I will have a house soon.”
By Por Narith, Project Manager in Stung Treng
Image copyright of the Cambodian Rural Development Team. Blog post originally produced here: http://www.crdt.org.kh/food-security/livelihood-improvement-through-vegetable-growing