Participation of local authorities in vegetable farmer field school

20160419_144001Mr Theng Mao is, 61 years old, a cooperating farmer of the Life and Nature project. There are seven members in his family.He was a primary school principal in Lvea Krang commune, currently he is a member of a district council who is responsible for developing district development plan.

Agriculture is the main sources of his family’s food and income. He conducts different farming actitivities such as rice cultivation, cassava planting, chicken rearing, pig raising. Besides all of these farming activities, he also has a small rice mill to provide milling services for local people. Below table summarises major occupation and incomes:

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There were 12 farmers attended the pilot Farmer Field School in Kok Chan village, Lvea Krang commune, Mr. Theng Mao is one among the twelve farmers who regularly attended pilot farmer field school on vegetable growing from February to May 2016.  Through the participation in the pilot FFS, Mao has learned different topics related to the basic concept of climate change, planting techniques, compost making, botanical pesticide, the impact of the chemical pesticide on human health, environment and economic, and other climate-resilient cropping practices. He impressed that he could learn new knowledge and improved his understanding after attending the pilot FFS.

Vegetable growing is normally conducted in the rainy season when there is rainwater. Theng Mao grows vegetables in his backyard garden, near his homestead. The size of that vegetable garden is 50 square metres (5 m x 10 m). Those vegetables are eggplant, chilli, watermelon, cucumber, and pumpkin. The vegetable he produced is good for his family because he doesn’t need to spend money to buy vegetables from others, at the same time produce healthy vegetables for his family consumption.

The Life and Nature project will facilitate to set up the women producer group and support women to improve their market linkage. Even Theng Mao is not a woman, but he is also interested in joining the women producer group. He expected to grow vegetables for selling to markets, both neighbouring families and local markets. So, both men and women can join the women producer group, but women will dominate the group. Theng Mao has another land about 1 – 1.5 ha, located about 1 km from his home, where he is going to to grow vegetables for market supply. This bigger land would enable them to produce more vegetables compare to a small slot near the homestead.

Water source is still a challenge for growing vegetables. He planned to dig a well in order to get underground water for irrigation. The cost would be around 2 million riels. During the interview, he realised that using underground water is not really while many other farmers do the same, water table would be decreased. However, this is the only solution he has for now.

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