Lyly, 34, was selected in 2014 to be a model farmer in FRB's Cambodia-South program, and has been active ever since in learning and trying out new techniques. Before her involvement with the program, her family depended on her husband's income as a barber and part-time construction worker, and she grew mainly rice and a few varieties of vegetables. She is now growing a wider variety of crops and replacing her use of standard fertilizer and other inputs with a number of organic practices.
Lyly's vegetables, chicken and fish are not only for personal consumption but also to sell for income. With her overwhelming success in agriculture work, her husband now spends most of his time at home helping her with the farm. Open to sharing her experience with others, she is the type of person being recruited as model Multi-Purpose Farmers in a new phase of the program.
The program's local partners are signing up Farmer Field School (FFS) members and others who have been successful with new sustainable agriculture techniques and continue to experiment. Candidates must demonstrate a high level of responsibility and motivation, have a strong work ethic and an aptitude for adapting and innovating with agricultural practices. They must be willing to continue to share what they have learned with their neighbors.
During the next six months of the program, the first group of 12 multi-purpose farmers will begin to prepare their farms by installing ponds, canals, and planting sites. They will visit a high-performing multi-purpose farm to learn about farm design. They will also receive training on soil enhancement techniques, raising animals, and year-round fruit and vegetable production. They will start implementing what they have learned right away. As a group, they will meet quarterly at each other's farms to share experiences and progress. An expert farmer will visit their farms periodically to offer coaching.
The goal is to improve food security and income for rural farming households in Cambodia through the use of sustainable intensification practices and farming systems that enhance the productivity of farms and farmers' access to markets. This program seeks to establish 65 multi-purpose model farms over a three-year period which will help support learning for an additional 600 farmers.
Bunthoeun, 45, his wife and their four children had a successful rice harvest in spite of last year’s drought because of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) he’d learned through FRB’s Cambodia-South program.
He also applied appropriate farming and poultry-raising techniques he’d mastered at the program’s hands-on Farmer Field School (FFS). The various new methods allowed him to provide diverse and nutritious food for his family, and he even had some surplus rice, produce and chickens to sell at the local market. With his newly acquired capital, he has been able to expand his rice field.
Farmers in Cambodia celebrate their rice harvest in December. This year, a farmer named Dia has much to be thankful for. Despite a tenuous year for rice farmers, along with drought after the initial rains began, Dia was able to harvest a good crop using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). Dia is a member of one of the twelve Farmer Field Schools started by World Renew in the Cambodia-South Program with funding from Foods Resource Bank (FRB).
Dia has learned SRI and many other farming techniques through the Farmer Field School in his village, and he has put many of them into practice. Dia said, “Before,I just wandered around visiting people and didn't really put any effort into my farming. Now that I've learned these new methods from the Farmer Field School, I have been much more successful and motivated to try new things.”