A message from Cambodia
3 Oct – Minea, aged 35, lives in Trapeang Chres III village, Trapeang Chres commune, Kon Mom district, Ratanakiri province with his wife and three children. It was a province located in the northern part about 588 kilometres from Phnom Penh, the Cambodia capital. It was known as an eco-tourism area in Cambodia with a majority of ethnic minorities.
Most people in Trapaing Chres III village live from subsistence agriculture. Minea’s family has a more precarious livelihood than others. In the past, he planted rice and crops using traditional techniques that depend mainly on rain to grow and plants.
Life has been harder for Minea and his family due to climate change. “We do not have much rain to cover our land like before. It always changes in the weather,” said Minea. In addition, due to the economic situation, the price of food has become very high. Due to this situation, his family experienced food shortages for six months of the year, making it necessary for him to borrow some money from neighbours to address his food shortage.
In order to improve the living conditions of the communities through agriculture, the Integrated Community Development programme of Development and Partnership in Action (DPA) in Ratanakiri province (ICD-RTK), encourages the people to learn and adopt sustainable agricultural farming systems for rice, vegetable and crop production together with livestock raising, cow bank, buffalo bank, pig bank, fish raising and avail of hand tractors and rice milling services.
In 2009, Minea took part in home vegetable gardening, rice production and fish culture projects supported by ICD-RTK project. During this time, he learned about new agriculture techniques from the workshops and training courses and received seeds for a variety of crops such as rice, corn, green been for plantation.
He is now a member of an agricultural cooperative called Vatanak Sangkum Agricultural Cooperative. Through using water pump machines and small hand-tractors provided by the cooperative and applying new agricultural techniques, his family has increased their production. In 2010, for example, Minea’s family earned an income of four million Riels from selling dry rice and mung bean.
“I am very happy when my family has enough rice and supplementary food like vegetables and I am able to catch fish to eat,” he said. “I also have surplus rice and mung beans that I sold to improve my family’s living conditions. The ICD-RTK project is the biggest factor which changed my livelihood as well as the livelihood of other poor families.
Minea goes on: “Through sharing my experience on improved food security with others, I hope other poor families will learn how to work with agriculture to increase their food security.”
DPA is a local organisation with financial support from donors inside and outside the country including Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand. DPA, with its mission to develop the community and the country and help the poor and especially the vulnerable people, is committed to work together to make a positive change.
- from the ICD-RTK team of Development and Partnership in Action (DPA)