CRDT delivers integrated project of food security, nutrition and health
Ms. Min Ton, Kroam village
Ms. Min Ton was born in Pres Rumkel commune (1.5 hours from Stung Treng) and now lives in Kroam village, one of the villages in Pres Rumkel. She has been engaged in traditional rice farming and ‘chamkar’ farming. The chamkar farm is a farm at the forest, located 18 kilometers away from the village. Here , together with her husband she grows crops which are mostly grown for family consumption. They grow crops like cassava, banana and corn.
The CRDT now has a project running to help villagers in Pres Rumkel commune gain additional income and diversify their diet by introducing vegetable home gardens (model farms). Miss Min Ton is the group leader of a group of 17 people in the village, of which 15 are women, who are participating in the project. They have already followed a training course on organic agricultural techniques like making and using natural pesticides, organic composting techniques and preparing nursery beds. Crops grown on the farms include long bean, morning glory, choy sum, pumpkin and eggplant.
The rice Miss Min Ton and her husband grows, the ‘chamkar’ farm and the home garden provide most of the food for daily consumption. Additionaly, fish, sugar, salt and cooking oil are bought at the market. All in all, approximately 5000 riel is spend on daily food consumption. Ms. Min Ton is very glad with her home garden and the new planting techniques that she has learned:
‘With the new planting techniques we have bigger yields and the crops grow better compared to our traditional techniques. I have shared my knowledge on fertile land preparation and preparing nursery beds to others. For example, I have demonstrated how to produce compost that has good soil nutrients by mixing cow manure with soy and burnt rice husks and then ‘fry’ it on a fire. Another technique is by adding certain kind of tree leaves and mix it with water. For me, I think the composting techniques and preparing nursery beds are the most useful things I have learned during the training course and which I am applying now on my own garden’.
Of the group, some members, especially 2 members, are not highly involved in the home garden activities. Ms. Min Ton: ‘sometimes they miss trainings and meetings because they are at their ‘chamkar’ farm. I cannot call them, because they do not have mobile phones. So, in the future, I’d like them to have phones so I can call them. I would like to strengthen the group and push people to go to the meetings and apply the techniques.’
For Miss Min Ton the model farm has been helpful to her in two major ways. First, she can get vegetables for free and it reduces her daily expenses on vegetables. Second, she can grow healthy food for her family, especially for her granddaughter. Indeed, Miss Min Ton’s daughter has followed a training course on nutrition for pregnant women as well as a course on complimentary feeding for infants aged 6 to 23 months. These courses were provided by the CRDT. The home garden provides food that contains essential nutrients and can assist in the healthy growth of Miss Min Ton’s granddaughter.