On 13 March 2011, I (Yim Sok Sophors) accompanied Mr. Borja and Ms. Silvia (Cives Mundi) on the visit to a women’s group in Pou Tel village, in Peach Chreada district, Mondulkiri province. We had a small group meeting with women’s group in the village. Farmers in Peach Chreada district do not have paddy but they have upland rice field (mountain rice). They have only about 0.2 to 0.3 ha per family for cultivating the upland rice. So, with this size of field, they could not produce enough rice to support the family’s need throughout the year. To solve the problem of family’s food shortage, some family members went out from the village to work as labor sellers in Rubber plantation, some other family members also went into the forest to find some NTFP (Non-Timber Forest Product) such as rattan, resin, honey, vegetable etc. Normally, the farmers use NTFP for family consumption, not for selling. They only could sell very small amount of NTFP in case of surplus. Even, they worked for the rubber plantation and find NTFP in the forest, but they still cannot make enough money to buy additional rice. It is to emphasize that the farmer is paid 5$ to work for a full-day in the rubber plantation but they need to work hard and wake up very early at 3 AM in the morning to work on time. The plantation is located far away from their house that is why they need to wake up very early and travel by the rubber company car to the plantation. So, we can say that food insecurity is still a big problem in this area. Normally, the farmers only can produce rice for the family consumption for 5 to 6 months per year. Farmers mentioned that the yield of upland rice was not good in the recent years due to lacking of water and pest outbreak. Farmers did not know how to solve the problem and they need CEDAC for help to solve this problem. In addition, there is also land conflict between farmers and rubber plantation. The company paid only 200$ for 1 ha of land, so the indigenous farmers are losing their farming land with this small of money and it will seriously affect to their lives afterward. They don’t have land title that is easy for the company to grab land from the farmers.
During the meeting, we also found some main problems of the indigenous women
- Domestic violence
- Majority of women are facing to health problem. However, it is good to find that about 80% of the pregnant women in the village have birth delivery at the health center at commune level, and 20% have birth delivery at home but they invited midwife from the health center.
- Husbands do not understand about gender
- Husbands do not help in doing farming activities
- There are many children in the families so it is a big burden for the families. Some families have 10 members.
- Most of the women are illiterate. Some management committee members of the women’s group are illiterate so that it is difficult for them to manage the group very well.
- Comparing with men, women have less opportunities to participate in the training service and social development activities of the village
- Women lack of capital to invest in doing small business such as grocery selling and farming activities. Some borrowers mentioned that they are not sure whether they can make money to repay the group.
In the afternoon, we had a meeting with the project team to wrap-up the result of the field visit. We discussed the problem, reasons why the problem is emerged and how to solve the problem. We reviewed the result 1 of the project “Farmers are able to secure their food security and family income through the increase of rice production and to diversify their agricultural production, by applying the innovations introduced and promoted by the project” and we will discuss result 2, 3 and 4 as well as gender issue tomorrow morning.