Provincial officials show interest in CARE’s integrated farming activities
24 Mar 2015
Government representatives visited demonstration farms in Koh Kong province in early March to witness the successes of CARE’s work to empower female farmers. The Local Economic Leaders project is training demonstration farmers and Village Animal Health Workers (VAHWs) to lead women in their communities. They support women to improve their farming practices so that their efforts are more profitable.
Key figures from the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDoAFF) and the Provincial Department of Women’s Affairs (PDoWA) attended the visit. They were joined by the District Office of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DOAFF) and a representative from the Provincial Governor.
During the trip they witnessed VAHW put their learning from CARE into practice as they vaccinated piglets, cattle and buffaloes in two villages. They also had the opportunity to speak with some of the women CARE works with to learn more about the successes of their farming.
Cheak Chhav, who is a member of one of CARE’s farmer interest groups, showed how she is linking her pig raising with producing rice wine for sale. By using the rice used for fermentation to then feed her pigs, she is able to maximize the benefit she gets from her investment in this. She currently has 10 pigs she is fattening and says that within just 4 months her pigs have gained weight to now be 80kg. Chhav’s profit for each pig could be as much as USD$60.
Demonstration farmer Sorm Khen showed her integrated farming activities, which include growing vegetables, raising chickens and pigs in the animal shelters she build with the support of her family, and growing fruit trees. This diversified farming means Khen has access to income throughout the year. She grows different vegetables depending on the season, but when this is not possible during hot season she is able to rely on selling pigs and chickens, which provides ongoing income throughout the year. By planting fruit trees Khen is also planning for the future; she will not be able to harvest these for 3-4 years, but in the meantime is able to earn money and feed her family by growing her vegetables in between the trees, maximising use of her land. From vegetables alone she can earn profit of around $USD55 per month.
The provincial and district agriculture representitives also joined meetings with farmer interest groups to analyse their income and identify market opportunities. Groups from 27 villages are working together to form group businesses so they are better able to negotiate with middlemen and can provide a regular supply of products such as vegetables or chickens to markets.
Provincial officials were impressed by the farming techniques they saw. The Director of PDoWA expressed particular interest in the technical knowledge that CARE provides to women, saying she observed that women were managing their land more responsibly and demonstrating their practical expertise. The Director of PDoAFF committed to provide technical support for livestock vaccinations and advised farmers to work together with local leaders such as the demonstration farmers and VAHWs to ensure they benefit from these.