Writer: Saody So, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems
Public and private partners based in Cambodia shared their efforts to promote the better livelihood of local farmers as well as consumers through horticulture trade at a fair in Preah Vihear. About 600-700 visitors visited this one-day fair in Cambodia.
The Horticulture Trade Fair held on 30 November 2016 showcased knowledge products of approximately 20 institutions from international development cooperation, government, non-profit organisations, inputs retailers, vegetable traders, agriculture cooperatives and financial institutes based in Cambodia. About 31 booths were exhibited with a number of 108 exhibitors.
The fair was hosted by Cambodia Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition (CHAIN) and co-organised by the German supported ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS) project, Action Against Hunger Organization, World Vision Cambodia, Private Sector including Ankor Green company, Eco Agri Co., Ltd, KENVOS company, Sinamyang company, SOKHAPOL company, HLM company, Micro Finance Institution, Idemistu Saison Micro Finance and ACELEDA Bank.
Its aims were to showcase the Cambodia’s horticulture sector and inform farmers on financial availability for agricultural investment and opportunities to expand their production area as well as to promote safe food and nutrition to farmers and consumers and give a platform for stakeholders for business dialogue and business matching.
CHAIN project through SNV Netherlands Development Organization focuses on improving the value chain in horticulture on vegetable and fruit in order to improve livelihood of Cambodia’s farmers. It implements in four provinces in Preah Vihear, Steung Treng, Kratie, and Ordor Mean Chey.
The project works with all supply chain actors, but at the end of the day, Ms. Marieke Van Schie, team leader of CHAIN expressed her strong hope to see farmers being able to produce vegetable for their own consumption and make extra money from the surplus of family consumption. She said she hoped farmers got better access to agricultural supplies and inputs and turn their agrifood products to additional money through processing, packaging and grading.
“CHAIN has been implemented for two years and I observed the farmers have been changing, and private sector and new company have shown their interests in participating in horticulture. Also, traders have confidence to work together with farmer to improve horticulture in Cambodia,” said Ms. Van Schie.
Since 2015, Provincial Department of Agriculture has cooperated with CHAIN in seven districts in Preah Vihear province including districts of Preah Vihear, Tbaeng Mean Chey, Choam Khsant, Kuleaen, Chhaeb, Rovieng, and Chey Saen in oganising farmer groups for training, following up on technical support, providing demonstration on vegetable seed and assisting in market linkage.
Deputy of Provincial Department of Agriculture Mr. Kan Salorn said at the opening of the fair SNV supported the sustainable production of vegetable and fruit to increase income and nutrition for the local Cambodians.
During an opening remark, H.E Chek Heng, Deputy Governor of Preah Vihear told that in the province almost 90 per cent of its population mainly relies on agriculture sector and in that 82 per cent is rice farmers, 5 per cent is vegetable and fruit growers, 0.15 per cent is fisherman, 0.05 per cent raises animals such as chicken, cow, ducks and pig and others rely on forest product.
The total population of Preah Vihear province is approximately 170,000.
Deputy Governor said Preah Vihear is an upland area, therefore, the main challenge of growing vegetable and fruit is water. She asked CHAIN project to continue to tackle the water issue in agriculture by providing well or pond to the farmers in order to increase crop productive in the province.
During the trade fair, Eco-Agri Co. Ltd (EAC), an environmental friendly agricultural input provider, an initiation supported by ASEAN SAS, also displayed various types of vegetable seeds, biological crop protection Trichoderma, and organic fertilizer.
EAC staff urged the visitors about the effect of chemical food, and suggested organic agriculture for both production and consumer. In Cambodia the demand for organic products has become higher.