Farm Businesses Support Gibbon Watching Ecotourism in Seima Protection Forest
“I am very happy with the support on improving my farming activities. The presence of tourists has made my village more crowded and some of us are able to generate income from this tourism activities.” said Mr. Ly Sitha.
In early May, six families from Andong Kraloeung village who were willing to run their farming business to supply to the Gibbon Watching Ecotourism Project were selected. Later in May, the project team provided four training courses to the six families and other villagers who were interested in learning the techniques. Four courses on (1) Techniques for chicken raising, (2) Techniques for vegetable growing, (3) Making master feed for chicken, (4) Making ecological compost and pesticide to a total of 39 villagers.
“I am very happy with the support on improving my farming activities. The presence of tourists has made my village more crowded and some of us are able to generate income from this tourism activities. I myself can sell my vegetables and chickens and earn some money with which I will be no longer worried about my family’s expenses and the study my two kidst. My next plan is to prepare my home-garden to be a model in the village.” said Mr. Ly Sitha, head of one of the six selected families.
So far, 3 out of the six families have produced their surplus vegetables of approximately 20 kgs/month including water grass, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, long bean, eggplant, gourds, and pumpkin top and sold them in the village at an average price of USD 1.25/kg. Four families have produced a surplus chicken of around 12 kgs/month and sold at a price of USD 6.25/kg. All of the products were sold not only to the Ecotourism project but also to households in the village. The other families are going to harvest their products in the next few months.
The income generated by the Gibbon Watching project plays a significant role in improving the local economy and in the conservation of Gibbons in the Seima Protected Forest. A tourist pays USD 200 per day for their package tour and the this payment was redistributed to villagers who provided services as tour guides, housekeepers and cooks and the rest was used to support village patrolling activities and ceremonies. In the two months of May and June, 51 international tourists visited the sites and each year the number of tourists is increasing since 2012.
For the next quarter, the project team will continue to follow up and coach the six families on the techniques they have learnt. At the same time, the project team will work with the local authority and villagers in Andong Kraloeung to open a community shop where everyone in the village can bring their agricultural products to sell to one another and to travelers. Stay tuned!
By Harch Chhorn, Project Manager in Mondulkiri Project Site