With funding support from DFID, CEDAC is implementing a project titled “Linking Farmers to Markets for Rural Properity” CEDAC since August 2008 and it will finished in November 2010. CEDAC is a partner NGO of IDE (International Development Enterprises) to implement this project in 50 villages in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng Provinces. The main intended output of this initiative is increased income for poor rural households in Nepal, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Up to date, the project is working in 14 communes, in 4 districts. As a result, there are 47 vegetable farmer producer groups with 627 members. Based on the project document, the project expected to have 500 beneficiary farmers and increase income of 150 USD annually. Furthermore, under the facilitation of the project staffs, the group members selected 94 management committee members (23 women) to manage the groups.
In this month — July 2010, the project staffs conducted 36 training sessions with 303 participants included 151 women. The training topics mainly focused on vegetable growing techniques (sharing experiences of vegetable growing among the experienced farmers, how to grow bitter gourd, eggplant, etc.). Since the beginning of the project implementation, 586 training sessions have been organized by the project staffs with the participation of 627 participants (237 women).
At the same time, the project staffs also organized 15 training sessions for 70 management committee members (37 women) and also provided individual followed up advice to 110 farmers in this month. It is to notice that besides the topic on vegetable growing, the farmers are also interested in fish raising, they prefer to conduct fish culture in this rainy season.
There are 608 farmers growing vegetables in this month. The popular vegetables are sponge gourd, wax-gourd, bitter gourd, cucumber, pumpkin, chili, etc. 295 out of 608 farmers can produce vegetables for selling and they could get income of 31,200 riels per month on average.
During this month, the project staffs encountered some challenges as follows:
- Farmers were busy with rice cultivation so that there was less participation in the monthly meeting of vegetable farmer producer groups. The project staffs conducted individual follow-up advice instead of organizing group meeting.
- The arable land for vegetable growing is flooded, so farmers lacked of arable land for vegetable growing in the wet season. The project staffs provided explanation to choose some kinds of vegetables that fit to condition of the wet season.
At the same time, some lessons-learned also found out as follows:
- Due to this is now the wet season, the farmers are busy with rice cultivation. Therefore, the project staffs need to be flexible, we don’t organize group meeting but to provide them the individual follow-up visit.
- Even there was less participation from the farmers, the project staffs still organized the meeting with those who came to join the meeting even if there were only 4-5 farmers.
- Rotation of the meeting venue is very helpful because it enables farmers to see vegetable growing of the other farmers, they could share and learn from one another to improve their practices.
In conclusion, it is able to conclude that the farmers have gained more understanding about advantages of vegetable growing. At the same time, they have improved their capacity to apply vegetable growing techniques while they cooperate with the project.
It is to notice that there was less participation of the farmers in the monthly meeting due to they are busy with rice cultivation in this month. Although, the project staff are flexible to provide them the individual follow-up visit. On the other hand, the capacity of farmers to produce vegetable for family’s consumption has gradually increased. At the same time 48.5 % of farmers who cultivated vegetable can make additional income for their families.
 The participants are the members of vegetable farmer producer groups