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Farmers needed the agricultural cooperative to play a key role to purchase produces collectively from farmer members!

Climate change has put more and more pressures for farmers, especially small farmers in Cambodia, South East Asia as they do not have proper agricultural technical skills, capital to expand farming and market structure properly from farms to markets in particular in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though, Som Lida, ages 33 years old a farmer with two children live at Chensa village, Duonsar commune, Svay Chrum district about 18 Km from Svay Rieng town centre. Lida has 1 hectare of rice farm and about 700 Sq meters of multi vegetable farm. A young couple grow multi vegetable and rice by following the agroecological practices. As CFAP’s member under the Torng Thlork Agricultural Cooperative she received some trainings on vegetable growing, making compost and botanic pesticides to improve her vegetable and rice production by using organic fertilizer made by her family and the agricultural cooperative. Self-making of compost can help to reduce expenses on fertilizer and to save money for the family, thus to produce safe and heathy food. Lida’s family grows rice and vegetable not only for household consumption, but also as cash crops. Her family has applied agroecological practices since 2019 till present and continue in the future because she realized that using compost and or organic fertilizer do not affect to her family’s health while growing vegetable and rice as well as consumers’ health.

Normally she grows spring onion, salad, ridge gourd and mustard greens both in an open space and under the net house. Net house however can protect from a wide range of threatening caused by animals, heavy rain, high temperature, pests, diseases and storm. Moreover, it is good for soil and water management.

Organic produces can sell well on markets with higher prices compared to chemical produces, it costs about 2000Riels or USD 0.50 per kg for vegetable in average, however she faces problems with rice prices while in harvest season is only about 900Riels or USD 0.225 per kg, rice yield in average is about 4000kg per hectare per season and it is not profitable properly for her family. The agricultural cooperative, however does not have capital to purchase rice from farmer members for storage and sell in high prices seasons, therefore farmer members have to force themselves to sell paddy rice as soon as to the traders after harvesting with low prices.

She said she wanted the agricultural cooperative to play a key role to purchase produces collectively from farmer members in the future. It is time that financial institutions and development agencies work with farmers’ organizations and agricultural cooperatives that can provide direct benefits to farmer members and vice versa.

Though the agricultural cooperative faces problems with finance to expand businesses with farmer members, Torng Thlork Agricultural Cooperative has a high commitment to work to overcome the challenges by collecting rice straw from the field to make compost for sales to farmer members to improve vegetables, rice and other crops production included mushroom to diversify incomes in a recycling and rotating manner from rice to soil, vegetables and crops. Moreover, CFAP’s member cooperative has ambitions to make compost from waste chicken house and resources that can find in the villages for sales to farmer members aimed to produce more organic, healthy and nutritious food with sustainability.