Case Study: The Adoption of Improved Vegetable Growing Techniques, Family Nutrition Improvement and Supplementary Income
Mrs. Yuok Soeun, a 46 years old farmer, lives with her husband and children in Krang Tamom village, Tang Krasang commune, Teuk Phos district, Kampong Chhnang province. They have four daughters, one of them is at a university, while other three are at high school, secondary school and primary school respectively. To earn the living and send their children to school, she and her husband grow rice over the area of about 05 ha as a main source of food security and income. After rice season, her husband works as a house carpenter, while she works as a small scale rice middleman to earn their subsidiary incomes. As a hard working farmer, Yuok Soeun usually takes her time to grow a few types of simple vegetables such as morning glory, long beans and amaranths in a small area of land (about 3m x 4m) of her home yard for her own home consumption. Since the amount of vegetables produced by her small home garden is not enough, she often needs to buy other various types of vegetables such as spinaches, cabbages, cucumbers, eggplants etc. from village shops for her family meals.
In 2016 Yuok Soeun became one of SLG members. In the implementation of second year intervention to support SLG, she volunteered to be a vegetable demonstration farmer in 2017. She and other SLG members were trained on vegetable growing techniques such as land preparation, seed germination, fertilization, compost and natural pesticide preparation, and plant care taking. Some climate change resilient techniques such as growing vegetables under shade net and using vegetable bed plastic film etc. were also introduced to the farmers. In addition to the training, a vegetable demonstration plot was set up in Yuok Soeun’s home yard over an area of about 13m by 15m together with the installation of 8m by 12m shade net house. In the plot, various types of vegetables such as spinaches, green spinaches, lettuces, Chinese kales, cucumbers and long beans were grown and taken care of by Yuok Soeun applying the techniques she had learned. As a result, various types of vegetables were harvested from the garden to enrich her family meals. On top of that, she earned daily income around USD 3.75 from selling her vegetable surplus to fellow villagers, some of which was spent for fish or meat for family meals and the other was spent for her children daily schooling. Within a few cycles of vegetable production, she was able to generate a total income of USD 160.00 from her garden. According to Yuok Soeun, her participation in the SLG is useful for a farmer like her because she is able to build her knowledge on such improved vegetable growing techniques.
“This is the first time that I grow various types of vegetables in such larger scale and make vegetable surplus. My vegetables are fresh and tastier compared to imported vegetables sold in the village shops; and it is safe to eat because I grow them by using cow manure as fertilizer together with small amount of chemical fertilizer. I used pesticide once in a crop life cycle when the vegetable is young. I mainly control insect pest by hands.” Said Yuok Soeun.
During this rainy season, Yuok Soeun has stopped growing vegetables for a short period of time since June, when there was enough rain, to focus all her family labors in rice growing due to the fact that her family has relatively large area of rice paddy fields and limited labors. However, she expects to finish rice transplanting by the end of August and plans to start producing vegetables in a large scale again. With support and encouragement from her husband, Yuok Soeun plans to install her own vegetable shop in front her house and sell vegetables produced in her own vegetable plot.