Case study: Hem Sareth, a livelihood improved by vegetable growing

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:

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