SRI and organic agriculture are powerful tools to help farmers increase their production as well as raise their standard of living. But their benefits are not only limited to the field. Farming communities that lack of technical knowledge and suffer from low productivity often also struggle with poor communication and weak relationships within the village. They also lack of the means and opportunities to develop other income generating activities.
Mrs. Jia Thor is 48 years old and has 5 children. Her husband is a farmer as well. While 2 of her children are married and one works in Phnom Penh, she is still directly supporting a family of four in Spean Deik village, Samakee Meanchey district, Kampong Chnang province.
On 0.7 hectares of land, she grows rice and vegetables and raises fish and frogs in the wet season. Rice is her primary source of income. Before implementing SRI, her yields averaged around 1.4 tons per hectare. After moving to organic farming with SRI, that figure has now risen to 2 tons per hectare.
While farmers are the key actors in promoting sustainable agriculture methods, there are a number people who play an important role in supporting and facilitating their efforts. These include trainers, local authorities, market vendors and, for our our certified organic rice farmers, internal inspectors such as Ms. Eng Chang Sreypov. Ms. Eng Chang, 25, has been working with CEDAC for 6 years and as an inspector in Kampong Chnang province since 2011. She works with 97 farmers in the province to ensure they are correctly implementing organic farming principles before the external inspectors survey the crops so that it can be exported as certified organic rice.
Mr. Keo Roth is 49 years old and married with 3 children in Toul Roka village, Cheangtong commune, TramKak district, Takeo province. He has been working with CEDAC since 2004, growing rice and green manure on his 0.75 hectare farm. He implements SRI on his entire field, part of the Damreiromil community, which has been been certified organic since 2008. He sold his first harvest to CEDAC (and, in turn, Lotus Foods) in 2009.