Food security means supporting livestock, aquaculture and vegetable production, and increasing the yield of rice crops in order to ensure communities have access to a protein-rich and varied diet, and to diversify food sources to equip villagers to adapt to a changing climate.

Livelihoods in Cambodia are climate-dependent, especially as the rural poor overwhelmingly rely on a single crop: Rice. In 2016 disastrous flooding has destroyed thousands of people’s livelihoods. With a future of increasing climatic uncertainty, we strive to diversify incomes to insulate against disaster if rice crops fail.

Diversification means more choice for farmers. We train communities in market value chains and how they can take advantage of price fluctuations. Only very small plots of land are needed to grow large varieties of vegetables and they can be grown according to soil, price or preference.

The work also has to break an unhealthy dependency on rapidly depleting natural resources. Overfishing and deforestation are realities that rural Cambodians are facing now. They are spending more and more time catching less and less fish, and walking further to fell fewer trees — in particular, this effects the lives of women.

There are also external threats coming from the threat of dams on the Mekong, and economic land concessions made to large companies to turn communal forest land into plantations. There is market pressure to grow destructive crops such as cassava that leech the soil.

Sustainable alternatives empower rural communities with choices over their own livelihoods, natural resources and futures.

That’s resilience. That’s security.

Read more about just one of the species we’re trying to protect from destruction with our work along the Mekong – the Irrawaddy Dolphin.

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