Heang Samrith is, 20 years old, a member of pilot farmer field school (FFS) of the Life and Nature project. She lives in Kok Chan village, Lvea Krang commune, Varin district, in Siem Reap province, with 3 members in her family. Only Samrith and her husband are the main labour force for farming. Both Samrith and her husband help each other to farming activities in her family. For instance, the husband helps to prepare fence of the vegetable garden, prepare the soil and make vegetable rows, etc. Then, Samrith does daily caring for the crops, harvesting and selling. Her family relies on agriculture as the main source of food and income. Annually, she earned about 3.67 million riels from agriculture.
Samrith has 2 hectares of arable land, one hectare for rice cultivation and another one hectare for cassava planting. It is to note that rice is mainly produced for family consumption while cassava is cash crop produced for selling. Last year in 2015, she could make about two million riels (approx. 500 USD) from cassava. Besides rice and cassava, she also planted vegetables, three months in the rainy season from May to July. As usual, she plants different vegetables such as petsai, eggplant, bok choy, for her own family consumption and sells if surplus. Actually, Samrith wants to plant vegetables in bigger land and in the whole year, but she could not do it due to the lack of water. Currently, she has one drilled well (6 metres depth), and one pond (10 m x 5 m and 3 m depth) in her Chamkar. The table below provides Samrith’s estimated farming land, total harvest and income.
From February to May 2016, Samrith attended the pilot FFS as she expected to learn new technical knowledge in climate resilient vegetable growing and want to become a member women producer group who produce vegetables for selling. She is one among 11 total FFS members in Kok Chan village. The pilot FFS was implemented by the Life and Nature project in partnership with Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA-Siem Reap). She said that “I could learn and gain new knowledge of climate change concept, selection of climate resilient varieties, how to make botanical pesticide and compost through attending the FFS”. She added that “At the current time, the temperature is very hot, rainfall is erratic, so water harvesting and water use efficiency are very important”.
In the year 2016, prolonged drought and increase of temperature occurred in Lvea Krang commune which is difficult for Samrith to grow vegetables in full capability. Therefore, to adapt to this issues, she is planning to expand / rehabilitate her existing pond in Chamkar, which is about 150 metres away from her homestead. The water might be not enough if she expands the vegetable production in Chamkar. So, she would expand the pond – make it bigger and deeper to store more water.
Below is the summary of positive changes of Samrith’s families after attended the pilot FFS:
- Be aware of climate change concept and climate resilient vegetable growing technique, so she would prepare better production plan in the future,
- Have intention to become a member of women producer group as she expected to produce vegetables for selling,
- Set-up clear plan to renew the water pond in order to0 improve water storage capacity (having more water for growing vegetables in the drier months),
- Improved family development plan, good sharing of labour among the family (between wife and husband) to work on the farm. Both husband and wife discussed and agreed to expand vegetable production for increasing family income generation capacity,
- Built solidarity and network with other FFS members in the village through regular participation in the FFS,
- Improved communication and public speaking with others both community people and outsiders such as PDA staff, DOA staff, project extension officer, technical experts, etc.