Planning for improving household food production and income from vegetables

4Ruot Dy is, 28 years old, married with 2 children. She is a woman member of the pilot farmer field school who lives in Anlong Kranh village, Popok commune, Stoung district, Kampong Thom province. Ruot Dy and her husband (31 years old) rely on agriculture to support the family’s livelihood and income. There are only 2 family members (Ruot Dy and her husband) who are the main labour force in the family while the two children are still young (5 years old and 2 years old).

Rice cultivation is conducted to produce staple food for the family consumption. However, the yield was very low, only 0.54 t/ha, which is much below the national average. The main income source for the family is from cassava and cashew nuts, about 5 to 6 million riels per year (approximately 1,250 to 1,500 USD/year).

Vegetable production and chicken rearing were conducted to produce supplement food for the family consumption, so the family did not generate any income from vegetables and chickens. However, the expense of buying external food is reducing if the family can produce food for own consumption.  Actually, the purpose of chicken rearing is not only to produce food, but also to make income for the family, but high mortality rate of the chicken limited this expectation.

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Ruot Dy was selected to become a member of the pilot FFS by the Life and Nature project extension officer because she is fit to the selection criteria, for example, she was applying the vegetable growing, vulnerable to climate change variation, and young farmer family, etc. She attended 7 out of 10 training sessions of the pilot FFS, and she has learned different topics on:

  • Seed selection / climate tolerant variation
  • Soil preparation
  • Soil fertility improvement (e.g. compost making)
  • Integrated pest management (IPM), botanical pesticide
  • Water management (e.g. water harvesting, water use efficiency…)
  • Harvesting and post-harvest management

Due to the prolonged drought in this year, Ruot Dy could not grow vegetables for this period of time. She is planning to apply what she learned from the pilot FFS in the next planting season when the rainwater is available. After attending the pilot FFS, she is encouraged to upgrade herself from subsistence farmer to commercial farmers. Now, she has a specific plan to expand the vegetable production, first start the vegetable growing inside the homestead area, then manage to do vegetable growing in a bigger land, which is located about 1 km from her homestead. She mentioned that the new arable land is accessible to a water source that is why she is interested in moving the vegetable growing to that area. Currently, there is one family growing vegetables in that area using underground water.

Ruot Dy mentioned that market demand for vegetables is not the problem in her community. The number of producers is less while many villagers could not produce for their own consumption. Therefore, the vegetables can be easily sold to neighbouring families, communal market, district market, etc. At present, there is a vegetable seller from Prolay commune, which is about 15 km away from her community come and sell vegetables to the villagers. Ruot Dy and her husband have strong intention and commitment and they will work together to improving vegetable production for market supply.

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