Sustainable occupations as alternatives to illegal logging and wildlife poaching
Communities in Sambour District of Kratie Province have begun leaving behind their illegal logging and wildlife poaching occupations for more profitable alternatives livelihoods such as chicken raising.
Forest communities used to be able to live well by sustainably harvesting products from the forest. Due to heavy deforestation, many members of the communities in Sambour district of Kratie Province, a buffer zone of the Prey Lang Forest Landscape, realized that they now need to earn supplemental income. For communities near commercial markets, raising chickens, if done using good techniques, provides an option to supplement or replace the income and commodities formerly received from forest resources.
The USAID Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project, implemented by Winrock International, provides skills training to community members through partner NGO, Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT), located in Kratie Province. A supply chain study conducted by CRDT indicated that local demand for chickens was high and if good techniques are adopted by chicken raisers, the return on investment was also high. CRDT concluded, after discussing their findings with forest community members that chicken raising would provide income and discourage continued deforestation by poor villagers.
“To reduce deforestation, we encouraged the community to consider this profitable occupation,” said, Mr. Bin Dim, SFB-CRDT Project Manager. “We provided skills training to farmers in seven villages. This training improved their technical capacities and gave them confidence to invest in chicken raising.” CRDT assisted in building some demonstration farms to encourage adoption of best practices.
Mr. Kok Kon, a model farmer in Kampong Damrey Village volunteered for training last year and said, “Many community members had the bad habit of cutting trees. They resisted chicken raising because they didn’t have skills and some had lost money raising chickens before. After I became a model farmer and started making more money than they earned cutting trees, they were willing to learn how to raise chickens and supply local markets. I provided training to anyone who wanted it. Raising chickens is easier than cutting trees, and the loggers are always at risk of fines and arrest.” In the past nine months he has earned more than $500. With this income, he has bought a home solar-energy system, a television, and all the materials needed to expand his chicken enterprise.
Mrs. Kong Sokhna, a 26 year old mother of two decided with her husband to learn Mr. Kon’s chicken raising techniques. They built a low-cost chicken coop in their backyard and bought 10 chickens to raise. “We appreciate the assistance USAID has provided to Mr. Kon by showing us how to make money without destroying our forests. We copied Mr. Kon’s success and gave up logging and wildlife hunting,” said, Mrs. Sokhna.
By CRDT & Winrock International, Supporting Forest and Biodiversity Project