A Participatory Enterprise Development Training was the last training session organized by EU-MALIS project before its completion by the end of June 2015. The objective of the training was to investigate farmers’ behaviors and to find out how the farmers can increase their income from rice (rice production and selling). This training also informed the farmers, local authorities, and stakeholders about a new FAO’s project, called “Life and Nature project”.
Mr. Terry Davis was the main trainer (he is an Australian volunteer with FAO-EU MALIS project). First, the training was organized for 12 FAO staffs to enable them to facilitate the same training process for 17 farmers and commune councilors (7 women) in the second stage. Additionally, two government officials from Agriculture Department and District Agriculture Office also participated as the observers and speaker during the training. Participatory Learning approach / Adult Learning methodologies were used during the training. Terry said, “the main tool for adult learners is question”, this means that the learners are encouraged to raise questions and to make the decision by themselves. Main topics of the training focused on target setting, calculation of gross margin from rice, price trend analysis, sharing of weakness and strength from existing rice cultivation practices, sharing of experience from average farmers on rice production practices, discussion on post-harvest and selling, sharing of experience and recommendation from the best farmers and technical experts (from FAO and PDA), and finally the participants jointly prepared their action plans what they should do to double income from rice.
As a result from the training, the farmers have gained ideas how they can improve their income from rice, the action plans were raised by the farmers, and those action plans are useful the Life and Nature project to design FFS training curriculum and interventions for Kulen Chheung commune, Preah Vihear province. The farmers, commune councilors, and other local stakeholders have gained more detail about the Life and Nature project. The farmers, commune councilors, and government officials from Agriculture Department/Office would continue good cooperation with the Life and Nature project. General Observations:
- Calculation of the margin from the small group discussion is much different. This is because of some farmers included the fixed cost, and some other farmers did not include the fixed cost.
- Speaking skill / presentation skills of the best farmers need to be further improved
- A woman commune Councillor responsible for women and children is active to participate with the project – she can be a potential commune Councillor to work with
- When the best farmers shared their experience, mostly focused on the solution but not much about the prevention
- The training seemed more focus on the technical rice production, but not much about enterprise development. Perhaps, the farmers came out with just technical aspect at the first session of the training, and they will put more focus on the enterprise development in the next sessions.
- The action plan should be prepared by the farmers, not the project staff. The project staff should not dominate the discussion – next time, farmers themselves should be the facilitators, the project staff can be the observers and help to motivate the discussion