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Cash crop vital boost for family income

At 65 years of age Un Mom is showing no signs of slowing down. The mother of six and grandmother has her hands full working the land to help to support her family.

Un, a widow, lives with her daughter, son-in-law and their three children in a remote village in Cambodia’s North East. She moved here, from across the country, as she had no land to farm. Her daughter and son-in-law earn an income through casual labouring, clearing grass and selling crops.

Un helps support the family by growing vegetables. She explains ’My home garden production provides income for my life.’ In this drought prone part of the country, maintaining a productive and profitable garden can be a challenge. CARE partnered with Un’s village to provide technical planting training and access to reliable water supplies close to home to help the community improve their diet and income opportunities.

This support has made a huge difference for Un. She says ‘CARE provided the initial input with seeds for different kinds of vegetables.’ Un received training on soya bean production, which has provided a great return. She explains, ‘I received 10kg of soya bean and from this I have now produced 700kg of soya seeds.’

Un has also been able to save money through her vegetable garden, she recalls, ‘before I joined the CARE project, I just bought food from the market. Now I can produce something from my small garden and it’s really helpful’. Now that she has plenty of vegetables to eat and sell, she only needs to buy rice at the market.

Un earns about 2,000r (about 50c) for each kilogram of vegetable seeds she sells and is able to set a little money aside for a rainy day. She says, ‘The money I get from selling my cash crop I keep for any future demand, especially for sickness.’

With a few health problems, having enough money for medical care is crucial for Un. She had to go to hospital earlier this year and the bill was 40,000r (about $10), so having income from her vegetable garden really helps with these types of costs.

While her poor health is often on her mind, Un is optimistic and keen to expand her farming skills. She hopes to grow rice in the future to enhance her food supply and income.

Having a sustainable food and income stream is important and Un has learned to keep seed aside for future years. She is appreciative of the opportunity to learn farming techniques and talks proudly about her new knowledge, saying ‘I have learned about technical planting, growing different types of vegetables and how to use local fertiliser.’

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