Mr. Phoun Phea is, 36 years old, a member of the pilot farmer field school of the FAO’s Life and Nature project. Phoun Phea lives in Anlong Kranh village, Popok commune, Stoung district, Kampong Thom province with 8 family members. Both husband and wife clearly share their roles in making food and incomes for the family. Phoun Phea is mostly involved in the daily agricultural activities while his wife does a small business in front of a primary school. The family makes income from both on-farm and off-farm activities, however, the agriculture is still the main source of family’s food and income sources.
As mentioned above, the vegetable growing is only possible in the rainy season when the rainwater is available, and he could produce vegetables for own consumption from June to August, which is about 3 months per year. Therefore, the family still lacked vegetable for family consumption throughout the year and has not yet produced surplus vegetables for selling.
It is to note that the FAO’s Life and Nature project partnered with Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA) to implement pilot FFS on climate smart vegetable growing from February to May 2016. Two government counterparts from PDA (at the provincial level) and DOA (at district level) performed as trainer and trainer assistant with logistical support and arrangement from the Life and Nature project extension officer.
Phuon Phea cooperated with the FAO’s Life and Nature project in February 2016 by regularly attending the pilot farmer field school that was implemented from February to May 2016. At the same time, he is also a cooperating farmer of the ADB Tonle Sap Poverty Reduction and Smallholder Development project. He is a management committee member of the revolving fund group established and supported by the ADB project. Phuon Phea is an active person and always interests to learn new skills and knowledge for improving the livelihood of his family. The main reason he decided to join the pilot FFS because he expected to learn new technical knowledge about climate smart vegetable growing as he wants to make income from vegetables. When women producer group to be established by the Life and Nature project, he is also interested in becoming a member of the producer group.
Through attending ten training sessions of the pilot FFS, he has improved a lot of technical understanding on the following key topics:
- Basic concept of climate change
- Soil preparation (seedbed, vegetable rows) for growing vegetables in the dry and wet seasons,
- Soil fertility improvement (solid compost, liquid compost)
- How to measure soil pH
- How to make trellis
- Selection to climate tolerant varieties
- Water use efficiency techniques (e.g. using of organic matter to increase soil-water holding capacity, mulching…)
- Integrated pest management, botanical pesticide
Phuon Phea has practised what he learned from the pilot FFS. He planted different vegetables such as yard long bean, wax gourd, water convolvulus in his garden, 20 m x 30 m located in the homestead area. As a result, he produced more quantity of vegetables for the family consumption, and the duration of having enough vegetables for family consumption has increased from 3 months per year to 4 months per year after attending the pilot FFS. Furthermore, he could also make an income of 30,000 riels from vegetables. Through the interview, he raised that he had never received any income from vegetables previously, but he could make an income from the water convolvulus after attending the FFS.
To improve vegetable production, Phoun Phea has several plans as follows:
- Dig pond for collecting rainwater (5 x 10 m, 3 m depth)
- Improve roof water harvesting for domestic use and vegetable growing
- Rehabilitate opened well, make it deeper in order to get more water
- Improved understanding of water uses efficiency practices
- Learn how to use chemical fertiliser with the appropriate way