Chy Pisit, 25, is a vegetable farmer who owns about two (2) hectares of land in Kampong Chhlang village, Sangkae district, Battambang province. Living with his father and other eight (8) siblings, Chy Pisit and his family plant cucumber, long beans, corn, pumpkin and bitter gourd, among the other crops grown in their village. Although he is the core person running the farm, his family helps him in farm production during planting time and harvest time, while they also running their respective businesses on off seasons.

Before becoming a beneficiary of ASPIRE, he faced several issues in running his farm such as choosing the right farming techniques, land preparation, irrigation systems, pest management, and in mitigating the effects of climate change.  In the past, he experienced crop production decline because of these challenges.  “The bad weather experienced through monsoon rains has affected my harvest down to the usual level as compared with normal weather,”  Chy Pisit said. “I don’t know how to deal with climate change, and it has affected my farm a lot,” he added.

Mr. Chy Pisit is one of the 3,228 farmers selected in Sangkae district to attend the CSA farming technologies and practices. Chy Pisit feels very confident about managing his farm after joining the other farmers in attending training programs using Farmer Field School approaches of ASPIRE.  In the CSA training program conducted in their district, he said that he  learned “how to do use and establish drip irrigation system, prepare the land, select seeds, implement integrated pest management, and how to apply fertilizer.”

Chy Pisit used to grow only two types of vegetables but since he joined the ASPIRE programme, he has expanded to more diversified type of vegetables depending on market demand, resulting to higher income for his family. “My income has doubled now as compared before joining ASPIRE,” said Chy Pisit.He mentioned that the techniques he learned from FFS has made his life easier in managing the farm.  When he is busy, his younger sister substitutes for him in managing the farm. “My younger sister helps me from time to time when I am busy with other family activities. Because of the new CSA techniques that my family has applied in farming, especially drip irrigation, even our younger siblings can help in our farm using this technique,” Chy Pisit said.

According to Chem Chantha, Chief of Sangkae District Agriculture Office, “ASPIRE used certain criteria in selecting farmers to join and form a group for the CSA training: a farmer who volunteers, a permanent resident within the village, physically fit to engage in farm labor and have land for farming. We selected farmers who want to learn new techniques, specifically on the technology of becoming resilient to climate change. If we are talking about ASPIRE as a program, we have clear directions on how to ensure farmers produce products that are in high demand and can be sold to local and international markets.  We also aim to transform our farmers, not only to do farming but also to engage in other farming business.”