Field Visit with Ms. Jutta Werdes representative of Bread for the World (BfW)
With funding support from Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst (EED), CEDAC has been implementing two development projects entitled “Enhancing the participation of farmer associations in local governance and development through capacity building and cooperation with local authorities in five districts of Takeo and Kampong Speu provinces (EPF)” and “Building Climate Resilient Farming Communities (BCR)”.
On October 2nd, 2012, Dr. Yang Saing Koma, President of CEDAC, Mr. Bao Vuthy, Program Coordinator, Mr. Pan Sopheap, Executive Director of FNN, relative Project Coordinators, and Ms. Jutta Werdes, representative of BfW paid a full-day field visit to Bati and Tramkak of Takeo Province and Bantey Meas district of Kampot province. Overall, three target villages (one per district) with 15 key farmers were consulted. During the visits, Ms. Jutta Werdes interviewed several cooperation farmers individually or in groups talking about progresses and changes in their communities’ development since joining the project.
Gaining knowledge from the visits, Ms. Jutta Werdes has a better understanding of the project’s impacts and the progress cooperation farmers have made in implementing sustainable agricultural and social innovations, particularly the self-help savings and credit groups. Additionally, she was invited to visit SRI rice-fields, a multi-purpose farm and a bio-digester plant to view the on-the-ground application of CEDAC’s technical innovations. The visiting team was particularly impressed with the Teuk Thla association, which has been running smoothly with six saving groups consisting of 300 members (equal to 130 families, or approximately 92% of total farmer families in the target village). The Angbaksey association is also making notable progress with its savings group and implementing SRI. For example, Teuk Thla association has been raising collective funds from its members to support committee members to: participate in vocational trainings on topics like computer science outside the community; rehabilitate and construct farmer learning centers to provide space for saving and credit offices; rehabilitate paths in their villages; and contribute to commune councilor meeting.
With regard to the “Building Climate Resilient Farming Communities (BCR)” and agriculture cooperative development, the cooperating farmers in Ponhea Angkor Khang Cheung, Banteay Meas district, have gradually committed to applying organic agriculture techniques including SRI, animal husbandry and bio-digester plants. Simultaneously, through technical assistances from CEDAC and FNN and good cooperation with provincial department of agriculture, Ponhea Angkor Khang Cheung Agricultural Cooperative had officially been registered and self-help saving/credit groups and SOSOR have been established and organically developed in the district. The government has promised its support to provide a warehouse to the co-op, while the co-op will contribute land to build the warehouse.