Mekong River-Dependent Livelihoods
Rice farming, fishing, raising livestock, riverside gardening, and seasonal wage labor as their primary livelihood activities and source of cash income.
Traditionally, communities cultivated their fields for their own consumption as due to lacking of techniques, seeds and materials and the difficulty to take water to irrigate their fields, they could only grow small quantities of food. Moreover, they hadn’t access to a market as the villages are far away from towns.
Fortunately, since 2006 their situation has improved as many NGOs have been coming to these villages and helping the population, especially CRDT. People’s techniques of vegetables growing were enhanced through providing trainings, materials and seeds were released like river hand pumps, pump water machines… Furthermore, the market value chain and market demand was spreading out within communities. Therefore, communities were then able to produce vegetables for their own consumption as well as to be sold.
Nowadays, the average annual household income derived from the riverside vegetable gardening is around USD 50.00. Riverside vegetable gardening occurs approximately seven months per year, most likely during the river’s low season. The average annual income from vegetable production per household is at least 100,000 – 200,000 riel (USD 25.00 – 50.00), in addition to the vegetables consumed by the household. These households commonly grow pak choy, cabbage, pumpkins, gourde, sugarcane, tomatoes, sweet potato and native root crops, corns, melons, eggplants, cucumbers, herbs, and others. Riverside vegetable gardens are mostly taken care of by women and children although some men give hand from time to time (The Sambor Baseline Survey, Estela Estoria Sept 2010).
By Bin Dim, Project Manager in Kratie Province