From 23-24 February 2009, I went to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces because I wanted to see the progress of vegetable growing conducted by the cooperating farmers of the project “Linking Farmers to Market”. Based on what I have seen the practices of farmers in the field, I could note that there are still many farmers have grown vegetable even now it is the late rainy season. Some of farmers have been using water from pond and others from the drilled well. I see that those farmers experienced of vegetable growing for a few years but they have not yet understood so well about negative impact of chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Currently, most of them use chemical fertilizer and pesticide for vegetable production, but it is used in the small amount. But after cooperating with the project, they wanted to reduce or stop using of chemicals.
However, there is a difficult for vegetable farmer producer in this year due to the price is now hugely decreased if compare to the last year. It is not good to benefit farmers as they have done previously. Based on the individual interview with farmers, they raised that this is because of much amount of vegetable is imported from many other places in the country especially Vietnam. In such condition, the local farmers lost of market opportunity in term of selling their vegetable products and it is not a good factor to encourage the local producer to try more effort. At the same time, the local consumers also have not got healthy vegetables for consumption because they are using imported vegetable from Vietnam which is cheaper than the local products that contains high chemicals. The main reason why the local producers cannot compete with imported vegetables from Vietnam is the production cost.
On the other hand, I could note that most of the cooperating farmers with the project are the medium farmers in term of their livelihood standard. Therefore, the project needs to make more effort to persuade the poorest families to become the members of the vegetable farmer producer groups so that the project can contribute to poverty alleviation among the poorest families. It is to highlight that the project expected to choose 150 poorest families out of 500 total target families.