On 24 March 2011, at Thlok Vien Commune, Samaky Meanchey District, Kampong Chhnang Province, Mr. Yim Sok Sophors Program Officer and Mr. Lang Chanthea Project Officer of CEDAC Field Program hosted an exposure visit by Ms. Malene Haakansson, DCA International Advocacy Advisor from Copenhagen, Denmark and Ms. Sam Pangna Climate Change Documentation and Advocacy Officer of DCA/CA. The purpose of the visit was to see the climate change situation of the community as well as to assess the adaptive capacity of farmers in regarding to agricultural practices toward climate change.

The visitors spent a half day at the morning to interview four farmers individually, and in the afternoon, Ms. Malene Haakansson organized a small group discussion meeting with several participants, including the village chief, committee members of the Village Development Committee (VDC), management committee members of the agricultural cooperative[1] and other farmer representatives.

According to the result of individual interview and group discussion, we knew that the weather pattern has changed. For instance, the rain is irregular compare to the situation in the last 10 years; drought is longer, the amount of rainfall is decreasing etc. Sometimes, drought happened in the beginning of the wet season, sometimes at the middle or even at the end of the raining season. The change of the weather pattern actually affected to the agricultural production. Farmers cannot produce enough food[2] for family consumption and some of the family members migrated to work outside their village in order to make additional incomes to support the family’s need, the daughter can work as garment worker[3] and the son work as construction worker in Phnom Penh[4]. Some of the family members staying at home and they also lack of jobs as well. Previously they used to weave the tree leaves for making roof and sell for additional incomes. On the other hand, the participants of the group discussion meeting mentioned that water reservoir and irrigation system are necessary important for farming activities in villages. The farmers would like to request to the commune council to put this as the first priority. It is important to know that the commune council has some funds (commune fund[5]) from the Royal Government of Cambodia to implement development activities in their respective commune, however the commune council has only small amount of money.

Based on the result of this visit, it is able to conclude that the drought resilient agricultural technique and the construction and renovation of small-scale water irrigation system (dam, water reservoir etc) are necessary important for the farmers in the village to have enough water for farming activities.

[1] This agricultural cooperative / rice mill cooperative was facilitated to set up by CEDAC in its previous project titled “Improving Livelihood of Small Farmers in Kampong Tralach District, Kampong Chhnang Province”

[2] Based on the village chief, 45 families out of 300 families in Spean Dek village are confronting food shortage especially the families who have small arable land are lacking of rice for family consumption about 4-5 months per year. The farmer families have 0.5 ha per household on average.

[3] The salary of garment workers is about 50 to 100$/month and they can send back home only 20-30$/month

[4] The number of villagers who migrate to work as construction workers in Phnom Penh is increasing from year to year because they prefer to make additional incomes for the family. Some come back in the wet season and some others do not come back even in the wet season.

[5] About 10,000 US$ per year