There are many vegetable growers in Saang district, Kandal province compared to other provinces in Cambodia. Different from other provinces, the farmers in this areas produce and sell vegetables to make income for their families. However, they use a lot of chemicals (e.g. pesticide and fertilizer), which is not good for health of both producers and consumers.
Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) introduced to vegetable growers in Svay Protel and Saang Phnom communes by a project implemented by ACTIS and World Vision International Cambodia. Some farmers seems interested in the GAP while they can reduce the expense on agricultural inputs e.g. fertilizer, pesticide, but some farmers think that GAP would not enable the produce more vegetables for markets. There are at least 13 GAP principles that the farmers need to follow, and appropriate application of the chemical fertilizer and pesticide is one of the main principles. Some farmers raised that they are difficult to reduce or stop using the pesticide because there are many pest insects “You would not harvest any vegetables if you don’t use pesticide”, farmers said.
The project jointly implemented by ACTIS and WVI Cambodia trained the vegetable farmers on GAP, preparation of production plan, establishment of GAP vegetable producer groups and facilitated market linkage. Supplying contracts between the producer groups and REMIC (vegetable buyer company) were prepared to provide stable price and regular purchasing of the vegetables from the farmers. This is good for farmers when they have the contracts. Price fluctuation and regular market demand are the main challenges facing the vegetable growers at the present.
Sim Sokneun is a vegetable grower in O Romchek village, Peamsala commune raised that he is interested in the GAP vegetable growing as it reduces / stops using the chemical pesticide. He feels sick when using pesticide, and he would not able to continue growing vegetables if he needs more pesticide in the future. In addition, he said that he can get higher price for the GAP vegetables – so it is good for his own health and also can get more incomes. However, connection / communication between the vegetable producer groups and REMIC needs to be further improved, make sure that all vegetables produced by the farmer groups would be purchased by REMIC for suppying to markets in Phnom Penh or somewhere else. He is now interested to grow Europe Lettuce for selling because it has good market demand and high price.
Dul Vanny is male vegetable grower in the same village said that he will grow more GAP vegetables if there are more market demand of this product. Currently, the quantity of GAP vegetables purchased by REMIC is still small. He added that some farmers believe in GAP vegetable growing, meaning that it helps to reduce the chemicals, higher price and can be sold to REMIC on the regular basis, but some other farmers are still reluctant to apply GAP vegetable growing – they think that GAP vegetable growing would produce less yield, then the income would be also less if the yield is less. Normally, the farmers use a lot of chemical fertilizer and pesticide in their conventional vegetable growing, therefore they are wondering the yield if they reduce or stop using the chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Vanny added that the farmers can sell vegetables regular to market when the project facilitated supplying contract with the buyers.
Tieng Rong a cooperating farmer who live in Peamsala village, Saang Phnom commune mentioned that he could sell his vegetable with a higher price if he followed the GAP vegetable growing principles. Currently, some members of the GAP vegetable producer groups still produce less amount of vegetables for selling, sometimes it is difficult for buyer while the quantity is not enough. He himself grow wax gourd in the plastic bag, which considered as new planting technique adaptable to poor soil fertility, water logging, shortage of water, etc. Planting this way enables him to take care of the vegetable easily.