Written by Dr. Yang Saing Koma,

Dr. Yang Saing Koma, president of CEDAC conducted a field mission from 22 to 23 March 2010, with the participation and support from Mr. Bao Vuthy, zonal coordinator of zone II. The mission was conducted in the framework of PRS, ILFARM-KP and CSPPM projects.

The capacity building meetings were organized with the participation of the members of PRS, members of ALDA, representatives of farmer promoter association, with focus on the current situation of ALDA and discussion on the changes of career opportunities and challenges since 1980s until 2020, and future vision for ALDA, the change of development assistance since the 1980s, and new trend in rural development approaches, the role of farmer organizations in local development.

In summary, the mission focused on assisting our staff, Young Community Leaders (YCLs) and farmer representatives to conduct the analysis of changes of opportunities and challenges in the rural areas (especially in the context of Decentralization & Deconcentration, liberalization, privatization, globalization and localization) concerning development assistance and employment opportunities. The farmers should realize that now it is the time for FO to take the leading roles in providing services and represent the interest of the farmers as well as to engage with the government and private sectors to provide responsible services to the farmers. The time to wait for someone to give or to provide something is over, and the time for donors to give money to NGOs/GOs to provide services to farmers will be changed. In the future or even now (such as CSPPM project), it means that donors will give fund to FO, and FO will pay the service providers to provide services to farmers.

The rural youth should look at the employment opportunity at local level, such as working for the FO, working as private service providers, working as local entrepreneurs. The time to work for the government and NGO is over. It is recommended that the YCL/CFA and CEDAC staff who recruited from YCL group should work hand in hand with the farmer representatives to build the farmer organizations so that they will become managers or directors of the FO. The FO should also start to identify potential YCL/YAE/CFA to prepare them to be the future managers of the FO. The professional managers and services providers should form local association, i.e. district and/or provincial association. The association should be developed based on the experiences of the existing ALDA association. The team should continue to discuss this concept, and we should find the Khmer name for this association.

CEDAC and FNN should also discuss about the concept of local development by using district as local development unit or focal point. We hope to get clearer picture on this local development concept after the meeting in Kampong Cham.

With the development of district farmer organization, Sor Sor and association of local development promoters or local service providers, we are going one step further in steering the direction of rural development in Cambodia between 2010 and 2020. The key strategy is to build good leaders of FO, good managers of FO, good advisors to FO, and the good mangers and members of ALDA to work together. We need also to think about how to integrate SKC (Sahakreas CEDAC) at local level in our development model. I can imagine that we will have shop in each district to sell local products according to the motto our district, our product or Srok Yoeung Phalit Phal Yoeung.