With its rapid economic growth, Cambodia sees a continuously widening gap between people’s lives in urban and rural areas. From the villages of Siem Reap Province where we operate, many people go away to work in urban areas or neighboring countries. On the other hand, due to, for example, having no wage worker in the family, those who have no other option but to stay in the village are financially struggling. Furthermore, some villagers find it difficult to obtain water for agriculture throughout the year because of the water shortage during the dry season. We have been working in the current operation sites since 2007 and supporting villagers to make their rural life stable through their own hands.
A Story in Our Activity Area
Ms. Chaet (27 years old) took the challenge of growing and shipping her dry herbs. She lives near the reservoir that JVC dug in 2018. When there was still no large water source in her neighborhood, she said, “If there is a water reservoir, I would like to grow some herbs to help with my family expenses.” Just as she said before, she now plants herbs such as lemongrass and other vegetables around the reservoir together with her neighbors to use for her everyday meal. She also makes dry herbs for shipment. She says, “I am glad that I can use my extra time for work because my husband has gone to work. Thanks to the sales revenue, we could handle extraordinary expenses like when our cow was sick.” In addition to lemongrass, she processes moringa, ginger, and leaves of passion fruits. She enjoys her new life, saving up the sales money to purchase a pump for the reservoir together with her neighbors, and exchanging seeds and nursery trees to plant around the reservoir.
Support for Livelihood Improvement
Outline of the Activities
We engage in the improvement of stable food supply in six villages in Chi Kraeng District of Siem Reap Province. Due to the lack of water sources nearby and water shortage during the dry season, villagers previously had difficulty growing vegetables in their gardens. In order to have access to water, we dug reservoirs and wells. We also held training on various topics such as flood prevention in the rainy season by utilizing what the villagers have at hand, techniques for saving water during the dry season, and techniques for making natural fertilizer and nursery trees. The training events had 239 participants in total. Aiming for collaboration with businesses outside the village, we provided opportunities to produce and sell fresh vegetables to restaurants. We also gave training on the drying process of herbs for those who became self-sufficient by practicing family gardening. As a result, a total of 55 people were able to ship raw materials to a company producing herbal tea. In addition, we provided opportunities for villagers to interact with visitors so that they can discover the values of eco-friendly agriculture. We also organized a study-tour in September 2019 with 15 Japanese participants.
We held meetings with the villagers and the administration to select the sites for digging reservoirs in the areas with severe water shortage during the dry season. We dug three reservoirs and two wells. As a result of the agricultural training, more than 90% of participants now save their family expenses through family gardening using the knowledge acquired in the training. For example, people can now harvest unsubmerged vegetables during the rainy season by using planters made of cement bags or other materials. This is the method introduced in the training on flood prevention. Villagers also learned techniques for saving water during the dry season. They reduce the evaporation of water from the soil by covering it with paddy straw after the rice harvest. They can now maintain their family gardens using less water during the dry season. Due to the external collaboration, villagers have started trading with owners of restaurants in the town of Siem Reap who seek a secure supply of local vegetables.
It yields precious cash income for villagers.
People who live near the reservoirs have started to grow lemongrass together and took the challenge to process and sell dry herbs. Their sales profits amounted to about US$150 in half a year. They have succeeded in improving their lives by themselves, for example, by using a portion of the proceeds in order to set up a hand-pump at the reservoir. One of the villagers who welcomed Japanese visitors in a study tour said , “I got a lot of questions about our lives and vegetables and I was able to interact with people whom I normally can’t meet in my daily life, so it was a precious time and I really enjoyed it. “Interaction with visitors and the experience of selling products to outsiders give them confidence and pride in practicing agriculture.
[Source: JVC Annual Report 2019]Share This: