Woman headed household struggles to make food and income for the family

20160426_105210Ms. Meak Savok is, 50 years old, a woman FFS member in Kuleng Chheung village, Kulen Chheung commune, Kulen district of Preah Vihear province. She has 2 children under her burden while her husband (45 years old) is the disabled person. So, she plays the role as the head of the family who carries out the whole family’s tasks.

Despite her husband is not the main labour force in her family, agriculture is still the main source of food and income. She is responsible for almost all of the farming activities with little support from her husband such as rice cultivation, chicken rearing, vegetable growing, wine distillation, etc. However, her husband also goes out to catch natural fishes sometimes in the rainy season. Major farming activities and incomes are described in the below table:

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From February to May 2016, the project partnered with Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA-Preah Vihear) to run the pilot FFS. PDA staff at the provincial level acted as the FFS trainer, one counterpart from District Office of Agriculture (DOA) performed as the trainer assistance with the logistic arrangement from the project extension officer, FFS facilitator.

Savok is one among the twelve farmers who attended the pilot farmer field school (FFS). She impressed that the FFS training methodology is easy for her to understand new knowledge and technical practices. Learning by doing approach is used, normally FFS trainer conducted real practices or demonstration during the training, for example, the training on how to make botanical pesticide, visiting vegetable garden to discover pest insects, etc. She said that “these kinds of training methods are easy for the farmers to catch the understanding”.  Many training topics discussed and trained during the FFS training sessions such as basic concept of climate change, crop identification and selection, site selection, soil preparation, water storage and supply systems / water use efficiency, mulching, planting methods, weeding, integrated pest management (IPM) as well as harvesting and post-harvest management.

Due to the extreme drought in this year, she could only plant vegetables on a small plot of land. Her pond still has some water until May that can be used for growing the veggies. As she is the only one who work most on the farm, she currently uses a small water pump to pump water from the pond to irrigate vegetables in the garden. She spends only 2,500 riels to charge a battery of the water pump, then the battery can be used for pumping water for one week.  Increasing vegetable production for market supply is her intention, therefore, she is planning to enhance vegetable production and market as follows:

  • Attend another cycle of FFS on vegetable growing and to learn more detail about Integrated Pest Management (IPM),
  • Participate in the women producer group to cultivate vegetables for market supply. The purpose is to get stable and reasonable price for vegetables,
  • Set up the water supply system / drip irrigation system in the vegetable garden. This would help saving labour and time in carrying and watering the crops.

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