1.Facilitating the commune workshop with sugar palm producers

On 17-18 Feb 2009, the project staff has facilitated one 2-day communal workshop on the topic of formation of sugar palm producer groups. 26 participants (5 women) attended the workshop. It is to note that representatives of provincial department of women’s affairs, district office of women’s affairs, women affairs at the commune level as well as village chief have also participated. It is to mention that the project staff has presented about the strategy of forming the sugar palm producer groups at the village level as well as the federation of sugar palm producer groups at the commune level. The groups are empowered if they formed into federation/network.

Additionally, it is to remind that 159 families in 5 villages of Prey Tung commune are interested in sugar palm producer groups, and now 2 sugar palm producer groups with 29 members have already formed in the commune. Furthermore, the governmental officials especially the local authorities are also interested in the idea of forming sugar palm producer groups because they want sugar palm producers to be formed together for collective business activity.

2.Organizing group training for key farmers in Prey Tung commune

One training session for 16 key farmers (2 women) at the commune level was facilitated by the project staff. The main topic of the training focused on ecological chicken raising. As the result of the training, the key farmers are interested in how to provide mix-feed to chicken especially the chicks, improved sanitation and to improve the method of designing the chicken house.

3.Progress of agricultural innovations practices in Prey Tung commune

Vegetable Growing

Based on the data information from the village chief and key farmers, 36 farmers have applied the technique of vegetable growing. Several kinds of vegetables have been grown by the cooperating farmers such as cucumber, water convolvulus, bottle gourd, wax gourd, egg plant, green petiole, etc. the average arable land for vegetable growing is 0.04 ha for each family. But there are some families cultivated in the bigger size as they grow water melon and string bean in the rice field.

It is to note that there are some positive changes in term of technical practices under the project intervention, those are mentioned as follows:

– The cooperating farmers conducted poly culture (integrated vegetable growing): farmers grow many kinds of vegetables in their vegetable gardens which previously they practiced monoculture;
– The cooperating farmers have adopted the technique of making liquid compost and solid compost. They are likely pay more attention to produce natural manure instead of using chemical fertilizer especially for family consumption;
– Farmers have improved the designation of vegetable garden and rows as well as fencing method;
– It is to note that the farmers are able to prolong the period of supplying vegetable for family consumption. Furthermore, 20 out of 36 families who have grown vegetables are able to sell their vegetables for generating further family income;

Ecological Chicken Raising (ECR)

23 families have adapted the technique of ecological chicken raising, they have applied some of 13 principles of ECR. Only 2 families have built the chicken fences, but the rest of the cooperating families have renovated the chicken house for hatching and other technical practices such as:

– Farmers have provided regularly the clean water to chicken especially they use medicinal plants soak into the water;
– Farmers have conducted de-worming by using herbal medicine;
– Additionally, farmers have also improved the sanitation especially they regularly clean feed container and water container;

Based on the impression from farmers, the number of farmers who will improve the technique of chicken raising will be increased simultaneously.

4. Further remarks

It is to note that during this period from February to May 2009, the sugar palm producers are busy in producing sugar palm so that it is difficult for the project staff to make appointment with them for the training or meeting. The convenient time for them is between 11 am and 2pm.

5. Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, the sugar palm producers are interested in the formation of sugar palm producer groups because it is easier for them to conduct collective selling of the sugar, they can learn knowledge and skill of producing good quality sugar as well as other agricultural techniques from each other, they want to improve negotiation power with the middlemen/merchants for a better price. Furthermore, the local authorizes especially the commune chief and village chief are active in providing support to the formation of sugar palm producer groups.

Moreover, it is able to conclude that the number of farmers who apply agricultural innovations promoted by the project will be increased gradually. From now on, the application of chicken raising will be enhanced, because during the individual follow up advice conducted by the project staff, farmers promised that they will practice it especially among the sugar palm producers.