Shared By: Jesse A Atienza
Considered as a breakthrough, these new breeds of Cambodian Farmers in Siem Reap have set aside their old habits in farming their crops and vegetables to embrace Ethical Farming. And they are successful at it!
Through Agro-Ecology, Siem Reap farmers finally understood the importance of Ethical Farming in Agribusiness. A big kudos to The Green Farmers From Here, their seven-year-old research program is a success!
With the assistance of Agrisud International Cambodia, their program under the name The Green Farmers From Here in Siem Reap has helped farmers improve their farming skills, techniques, understood the relationship of Ethical Farming and Agro-Ecology, embraced the importance of technology, and learned the benefits of marketing and business management. A good indication of progress, perhaps? It is not surprising that soon, the program will become self-sustainable and independent.
Introduction of Ethical Farming
The Green Farmers From Here was established as an entrepreneurship program to fight against poverty and to answer the ever-growing drought of home-grown healthy fruits and vegetable supply in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap’s topography was blessed with hundreds, if not, thousands of acres of land. Its massive land size can produce tons of fruits and vegetables for local consumption.
However, there are still limitations when it comes to farming, according to some Agronomists. They have found out that the quality of soil is not at par with farming expectations, and the majority of the farmers are treating their farmlands by adding conventional inputs such as minerals, antibiotics, and others in order to treat and balance the soil. For more than two decades, since the opening of its gates commercially in the world, Siem Reap became popular and was recognized as the home ancient civilization with huge temple-ruins, and now, the model of Ethical Farming within the country.
The system initiated by the Green Farmers From Here can be considered as a magnificent approach that leads to poverty reduction, (by helping the people, especially local farmers to become entrepreneurs through VSE’s or Very Small family Enterprises program) and by introducing the system of Agro-Ecology to farm operators and owners of the land.
Agro-ecology and Ethical Farming? How does it work
So, what is Agro-Ecology? In scientific terminology, it is a type of farming approach, whereas the objective is to maximize food production without exhausting, neither damaging the available natural resources.
Agro-Ecology may sound new for a Third-World country like Cambodia, but in reality, it is not. This method is proven successful in other countries.
Agro-Ecology helps farmers to reduce over-dependency on the use of conventional inputs such as; pesticide, fertilizers, antibiotics, and also fuel, irrigation water, animal feeds, and others.
Little that the farmers know, these so-called conventional farming methods represent 40% to 50% of their farm operating expenditures. On top of that, their old techniques contribute partly to polluting the air, water, and soil, causing health problems to themselves, and other farmers, and the consumers.
The system introduced by the Agrisud International Cambodia in Siem Reap blends well with the farmer’s skills, knowledge, and experience. With the program’s initiatives, now, the farmers are equipped with a better understanding of reading weather patterns, identifying what are the correct crops to produce, evaluating the risks involved, and other important variables in managing and operating their Agribusiness.
VSE Program (Very Small Family Enterprise)
How to become a member?
The VSE program supports the local farmers with seminars on Entrepreneurship, business planning, quality control, and distribution.
Also, the program aimed to produce role-model farmers in their communities, and to other farmers in reducing environmental footprints.
The Green Farmers From Here maintains its values of producing and distributing only the freshest fruits and vegetables in all of their farms. This quality is a must be maintained at all times, as per the mandate of Agrisud International.
The program officers of The Green Farmers From Here are optimistic that in the future, the farmers can operate by themselves independently. They are confident that from this program, farmers will help each other and freely exchange business ideas. It will lead to the expansion of their business within the region, and ultimately, the whole country.
Being local is what emphasizes! We support all local sustainable farms to produce Healthy and Homegrown food and crops through Agro-ecology. We in Agrisud International Cambodia will continue to hover and make sure the local farmers are well assisted”
Mr. Seng Picheth, Project Coordinator and Country Representative
According to the latest figure of Agrisud International, there are at least 59,100 VSE’s around the world, and this will double within a decade. In Cambodia, there are at least 1,570 Ethical Farmers in Siem Reap Province alone and growing.
The Green Farmers From Here (led by Picheth) is passionate to increase the numbers of VSE’s in the Kingdom. However, they are also cautious not to force the system and create an abrupt change in the norm of farming society.
The team is confident that once implemented correctly, it will help strengthen and solidify the Farming Industry in Siem Reap.
VSE is popular in Africa, Asia, South America, France, and now in Cambodia.
Through VSE, the number of jobs generated in rural territories, and around the city grew positively. Because of the effort on using this farming program, farm operators and owners have helped lessen a potential massive rural exodus, or forced migration flows that could inflict permanent damage to land, and local economy.
From a socio-economic perspective, VSE as a program is not only feasible but also display a healthy business competition within and outside the region. After all, it is the creation of choice that matters to a growing community.
Agro-Ecological Principles and Adapted Practices:
In a contrasting note of what we falsely understood, Ethical Farming is far more cost-effective compared to the traditional and conservative farming.
Agro-Ecology is not a brand, neither a tag line. It is a scientific approach, where it follows a specific set of guidelines for the Ethical Farmers to adapt based on their topographies.
It Encourages Plot Segmentation and Crop Rotation
A farm in Banteay Srey District owned and operated by Mr. Yoeun has been following the Agro-Ecological process for years. He does not only reduce the use of the old conventional farming input s, but his farm also gained a better ecosystem. How? Through proper land segmentation and crop rotation.
These farming methods help to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. Also, it was proven to prevent plant diseases and pests from attacking the vegetation, thus it
Ethical Farming Helps to Reduce Soil Erosion
At Chreav Village, an Ethical Farmer named Mrs. Saroeun had stopped plowing her land deeply. Farmers don’t understand that soil erosion starts from deep plowing.
By following the correct technique, the soil became aerated, earthworms have returned to their natural habitat, her farm starts to revitalize, and become resilient to pests and farm diseases.
She not only saves time, energy and money, but her farm increases its biodiversity.
It Encourages Composting as Natural Fertilizers
One of a good example is Mrs. Pok Kong at Chreav Village. She uses nothing only, but organic fertilizers made from animal and vegetable wastes to boost her farm. This technique is accessible to all Ethical Farmers to assure that aerobic fermentation sets it for the production of stable humus.
Ethical Farming Supports and Respect Animal Welfare
Agro-ecology is not only about fruits and vegetables but also for poultry and livestock breeders. In Tbaeng Commune, there is a farmer named Mrs. Laye on where all of her poultry fouls have access to both indoor and outdoor spaces. They feed on termites and other available spices used as traditional medicine rather than chemically infused boosters.
Thanks to this type of approach, all of her chickens have a healthier diet and resistant to animal diseases. They produced healthier eggs and quality chicken meats.
Improved Soil Management
The Green Farmers From Here believed that any food grown within the methods of Agro-Ecology farming is not only tastier but healthier. They religiously observe and practice the use of Agro-Ecology farming techniques to improve proper soil management in all of its governed planting grounds.
Healthy Agro-Ecological Product Certification
Whenever you see this logo, it means that the fruits or vegetables you are purchasing from the shelves of your favorite vendor are Certified Healthy.
Under the P.G.S program (Participatory Guarantee Systems), Ethical Farmers must comply and meet the needed requirements and follow only the approved and certified Practices introduce by Agrisud International.
The program also serves as an effective tool to display Trust, Transparency, Willingness to Listen and Learn are perceived.
Available Outlets of The Green Farmers From Here
Presently, The Green Farmers From Here is supplying restaurants and hotels in Siem Reap. They are also anchored in some of the famous local markets and convenience stores around town.
- Siem Reap Farmers Market (opposite Feelings K.T.V)
- King’s Road Angkor (located at the main entrance gate)
- Asia Market Convenience Store
- Asia Plaza 24 hrs Convenience Store
- Angkor Market (Sivutha Boulevard)
- Angkor Market (Road No.6)
- They are Open Daily to Supply Healthy Fruits and Vegetables for your hotel or restaurant.
- They are open for Business-Franchising. Should you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Summary (What I have learned from this Article?
Sometimes, we do trade good stuff from the bad ones because of the cost factor. Do you believe that we are fortunate because we have enough supply of supplements and vitamins? I don’t think so. Please remember that we cannot depend solely on these.
In today’s precept of working lifestyle, we humans must receive a daily dose of vitamins to combat stress. Commercially speaking, we are being misled on devouring the wrong diet that leads to weakening our immune system.
We must be vigilant about what we buy, and how we shop. Understanding what we are purchasing, and the product source is important.
So, ask yourself if you want fruits and vegetables that are few-cents higher, but healthy and homegrown, versus the cheaper-imported ones, but unsure of its treatment-process. The decision is totally up to you.
Anything Good is Infectious!
It is my greatest privilege of meeting these new breeds of Ethical Farmers in Siem Reap. I know for a fact that they are only a few in numbers, but this temporary. As a business concept, I found Ethical Farming feasible. As an approach, I believe it is acceptable. I do believe that anything that is good, is infectious. Good roots will surely crawl its way out to other farmland owners in Siem Reap, and in Provinces within the Kingdom.
Thanks for reading and I hope you like it. Eating healthy and with proper-life-work balance is a key to live.
Wordings: Nymisha Reddy
Edited by: Jesse A. Atienza
Photographs: Agrisud International (Cambodia)