Cambodian farmers belonging to Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), an AFA member organization in Cambodia, and also one of FOs participating in the Asia Pacific Farmers’ Forum supported by MTCP2, participated in the first Asia Pacific champions exhibition at the Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh on Auust 20-12. They joined other MTCP2 delegates from South Asia/ANPFa, Pacific/Tonga Growers Federation, Southeast Asia/LFN/CFAP/FNN.
Entitled Farmer Association for Livelihood Improvement, the FNN initiative includes three key activities of FNN’s members:
-Self-help saving and credit groups;
-Organic Rice Mill Cooperatives; and
-Organic vegetable and chicken
The three activities were been initiated by CEDAC and are being carried out by FNN’s members since the late 1990s.
Saving scheme has been characterized and evaluated as a key tool to help poor farmers reducing debts and poverty. It also has instilled a new culture of saving, because saving is a core of success.
Meanwhile, Organic Rice Mill Cooperative (RMC) plays another main role regarding income generation through agri-processing. Most of members who are members of organic RMC are no longer sells their raw materials (paddy rice) to middlemen with low price in previous time. The organic RMC has been mainly linked to CEDAC enterprise and CEDAC shop for local and international markets.
Farmers also producde organic vegetable and chicken that are linked to CEDAC shop.
Both saving and RMC have mostly helped farmers out of poverty and enable them to be no longer dependency or objects.
Self-help groups, organic RMC, organic vegetable and chickens are unique and special case and products in Cambodia at the moment due to increase of poverty and debts among rural poor and health issues regarding unhealthy food.
Besides getting premium price, organic product is a new trend of everybody needed.
From old generation to next generation rural farmers have still being poor despite they have been working very hard in the fields (agricultural farming), they are still poor and even getting poorer and poorer. Key problem is because they lack of knowledge of agri-processing, which meaning that they always sell their raw products with a low price and now bargaining power at the market particularly with middle-men/traders.
Self-help saving and credit is a new strategy to liberate mind-set of rural farmer from SPENDING FIRST to SAVING FIRST. It is a new culture of saving and credit.
The three farmers from FNN participating in the fair are:
Ung Touch, Mr.
Chairperson of Russey Sanh Cooperative, Prey Veng
Ret Khuoch, Mrs.
A member of FNN district Network Member (producer)
Mr. Seu Rany
President, Farmer and Nature Net
Agroecological farmer from Takeo province