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COLLECTIVE SALES AND PURCHASES WOULD GREATLY HELP SMALLHOLDERS TO IMPROVE THEIR LIVELIHOODS, THUS TO SUSTAINED AGRICULTURE IN RURAL CAMBODIA!

Mr. Sok Pin a farmer live in Chensa village, Donsar commune, Svay Chrum district, Svay Rieng province, his wife Prum Savy, they are married with five children, 02 females. Their family has about 1000 square metters for vegetable growing and 2 ha for paddy rice. Their family became a member of the Torng Thlork Agricultural Cooperative in 2018.

After becoming a member of Thorng Thlork Agricultural Cooperative their family received various training courses from the agricultural cooperative for instance vegetable training, animals training, compost making and botanical pesticide.

Since 2019 their family has applied safe organic production for vegetable and rice seed. In average they harvested about 200 Kg of vegetable from their small-scale farm per crop, they can do five crops per year for vegetable production. The price of vegetable was about 2000 riels or about USD 0.50 per kilogram. He also harvested about 5000 Kg of paddy rice from his paddy rice field per crop as well and his family can also do three crops per year for rice production, however their family were difficult with water for irrigation as other farmers because they depend on rain fall for the first crop, then limited water from canal for second crop and ground water for the third crop. The price of paddy rice sold to the middlemen was about 900 riels or about USD 0.225 per kilogram, however paddy rice prices in Cambodia can vary from 900 riels to 2500 riels, it depends and rice seed is however more expensive than normal feeding paddy rice. His family use organic fertilizer produced by the cooperative. He said organic products are more expensive and more popular than chemical ones and the price was also higher compared to chemical produces because consumers trust the quality of organic produces, as consumers think it is safer and healthier.

He wishes to have collective sales and purchases of produces from farmer members directly by the agricultural cooperative itself in the future because they experienced in the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore farmers, especially smallholders can save times to work on farms, do not have problems with markets as before and the price is also better because the cooperative can sell directly to the consumers.

He said he needed additional knowledge on vegetable and rice growing to meet market demands in particular higher markets like super markets. It is the fact that farmers in Cambodia needed to improve agricultural production to meet current and future markets demands which the products are good, safe and healthy, therefore farmers, especially small-scale farmers must get access to knowledge on horticulture and packaging/processing sufficiently.