Saturday, August 30, 2008

National Conference on Livestock Production at Royal Academic of Cambodia

On 28-29 August 2008, I and Mr. Kin Mengse have attended the national conference on livestock production at Royal Academic of Cambodia. We were also invited to be the speakers among the others during conference. The topics we have presented as the ecological chicken raising (ECR) and the project that we are implementing, named Avian Influenza Behavior Change (AIBC). It is to note that the purpose of the conference is to find out the strategy of promoting livestock production in Cambodia. There were many different participants joint the conference such as small-scale farmers, commercial farmers, students, lecturers for universities, government officials, NGOs, etc participated actively in the conference. H.E.Dr. Chan Sarun, minister of ministry of agriculture, was presided the conference. 14 speakers were invited to present their topics one-by-one, those topics are involved of the issue of livestock in Cambodia, including the production process and market opportunity. Several highlighted topics are indicated as follows:

- General situation of livestock production in Cambodia, policy, constraints and strategy
- Nutrients composition in animal feed
- Ecological Chicken Raising (ECR)
- Avian Influenza -Experience of extension on Avian Influenza
- Bio-digester
- Problem faced by the pig association
- Experience of raising pig - Bio-security in pig farm and
- Etc

After participation of this conference for one day and a half, I could learn something new as follows:

- I could know that Cambodia in fact has good potential to increase the agricultural production for market supply meanwhile the exported agricultural products from Vietnam and Thailand are hugely imported, this is to indicate that the domestic products is not enough for the demand. However, we need to ensure that a good condition of agricultural production especially for the small-scale farmers should be enlarged. For example, Cambodian producers is facing to highly expense on external agricultural inputs so that they can not sell their product at lower price comparing to the products exported from neighboring countries that being sold at the lower price than domestic products. Can you guess why? Because the input supply for the production is not cost much in our country.

- I could note about the problems facing by the pig farmer association to say that they can produce pigs but there are nobody come to buy their pigs. To me, I think that this is because of they only play role as the pig producers by doing so that they are not able to control the whole process of market chain. For example, if they have their own slaughter house, they may be able to sell their pig, they can sell meat instead of live pigs, not the live pigs. The pig association should expand their marketing strategy to sell their products for the market.

- I understand that animal feed is a very big opportunity for business even though there are some companies are promoting their produced feed to consumers. Most of farmer producers need productive feed for the growth of their animals especially the commercial farms, but those feeds are the external inputs so that it is not good to serve the benefit of domestic feed producers. If we can train farmers to produce their own feed so that we can help to improve the family agriculture, or we can produce the additional animal feed that is fit to the condition of those families.

- One among 5 recommendations to the royal government of Cambodia is to recommend that the RGC should provide incentives support to farmers such as animal breeds, seeds, etc. I think that such recommendation is not good to make farmers to be self-reliant. I think that it is better if we don’t provide them the seed, breed but farmers themselves are affordable to buy those inputs. The importance is in fact the knowledge and spirit of changing from subsistence farmers to commercial farmers, if they really want to change, they really can do by them own.

- To me, think that it is really good if the problem of farmer producers is the common problem of the royal government of Cambodia. If so, it will help to speed up the solution effectively. Additionally, the extension government officials should be strengthened in term of the knowledge and capacity of sustainable agricultural extension with a better policy support to their work.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Project Introduction Workshop

From 22-25 August 2008, I went to organize to Svay Rieng for organizing 2 introduction workshops on the project, namely "Improvement of the most vulnerable Families for protection of human trafficking and unsafe migration". The commune chief, village chief, villagers and some representatives of IOM were invited to join the workshop. The workshop aimed to present the project's goal and objectives, expected output, strategy and activity...etc. especially, I have mainly concentrated on how to cooperate well among the project's stakeholders in order to ensure that the project will be able to achieve its main output effectively. We have totally achieved some main activities as follows:

- 120 families have been met for one-to-one conversation both Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces,
- 3 project introduction workshops were organized

For the last week of August, we will organize village general meetings and there will be a video show on SRI during that time as well, it is to note that most of farmers have not yet transplanted their rice seedling in the project's target area of Svay Rieng province,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Field Mission to Prey Veng and Svay Rieng Provinces,

From 12-15 August 2008, I had been working for the project, namely "Improvement of Livelihood of the most Vulnerable Families for Prevention of Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration" in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces. I went to Svay Rieng on the first day of my visit and I have discussed with Mr. San Sorn about the project, I explained to him the rational background of the project, objectives, main outputs, methodologies and activities will be done by the project. Importantly, I wanted Mr. San Sorn who is the one to act the role of farmer community facilitator of this project can understands well about the general concept of this project and he can move forward to field implementation. Furthermore, I have met him for reflection on the activities and results that the project has achieved so far if compare to the project's plan at the beginning of this month. It is to note that 120 out of 140 families have been conducted the one-to-one conversation both in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces. Based on the collected information from the one-to-one conversation with the families in Prey Tung commune, Sithor Kandal district, Prey Veng province, we could know that:

There are around 100-150 families in the villages produce sugar palm with the average quantity of 1000 kg per year, the maximum is 1500 kg/year and the minimum is 500 kg/year. The market price now is 2000 riel/kg. Remarkably, there are totally 5 villages of Prey Tung commune.

Most of the villagers in the target villages lack of rice for family consumption, in case of the poorest families, they lack of rice at least a half of the whole year. Most of the poorest are hired to make silk so that they can get some complementary income for the family's need.
The size of homestead area is small and the house settlement of the villagers is located in a close place among house to house, so farmers feel that they lack of land for vegetable cultivation as well as there were many big trees planted in the homestead that is unable them to grow vegetable because of competing of nutrient absorbing from the roots of big trees,
Additionally, I have discussed with Mr. San San to review the project's work plan to organize the introduction workshop, village general meeting at the village level, etc. Hope that there will be more activities accomplished at the end of this month.

Joint meeting with IDE (International Development Enterprises)

Today, on August 19, 2008 I and Mr. Lang Seng Horng, director of CESDE (Cedac Enterprise for Social Development) went to IDE office in Phnom Penh for a whole-day discussion on a new project, that project is called "Linking farmers with Market for Rural Prosperity" and it will be jointly implemented by IDE, CEDAC and PADEK. The target area will be selected along the national road 1, Prey Veng to Svay Rieng province. Up to now, we have discussed and agreed to prepare the project's budget of each partner, to identify and select the target site, etc. Hopefully, this project will be implemented very soon so that we can improve the capacity of farmers, especially the poorest farmers to produce vegetable for market supply, it is to note that each of CEDAC and PADEK will be responsible to improve the livelihood of 500 target families with increasing of income 150$, the vegetable farmer producer group is conducted. There will be 60,000 USD of the project's budget for both CEDAC and PADEK. To me, I think that even though this project seems to be small, but we can have more change to strengthen the vegetable farmer producer group and especially to link those groups to NAP (Natural Agriculture Product) in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces and a few CFAs will be employed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Field Monitoring by Mr. Nop Sotheara, programme officer of USAID

August 07, 2008, Mr. Nop Sotheara, program officer of USAID visited 4 farmers in 2 villages, Kangan Pong and Romdeng village of Spean Thnot commune, Chi Kreng district, Siem Reap Province. The hosted visit was taken place at the target villages of AIBC3 (Avian Influenza Behavior Change Project), Mr. Kin Mengse, program officer of CEDAC who is the project coordinator of AIBC accompanied him for the field visit. The purpose of the visit is to (1) monitor farmers’ understanding and practice on the messages of avian influenza, (2) Check the progress of farmers’ practice on the technique of ecological chicken raising (ECR).

Based on the result of the visit, we can conclude that farmers have practiced well the techniques of ECR such as “build up the fence for chicken, provide mix feed, separate healthy chicken and sick chicken, clean to ensure good sanitation inside the chicken fence and chicken house, use herbal plant to soak within water for chicken, make compost for chicken to scratch, etc”. However, farmers need to try more effort in order to increase the chicken production so that they can increase more income for the family, the alternative of setting up chicken producer group should be conducted among farmers in these new target villages.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Strategic meeting of FNP

On August 04, 2008, 13 staff who are the core team members of FNP (CEDAC’s Field Program Unit) joint a special meeting, the meeting venue was held at SUON SOBEN resort, the meeting aimed to discuss on the following points: -Definition of this group (Core Team of FNP) -Review strategy of FNP -Discussion on CFA (Community Field Assistant) and its policy support -Discussion on role and responsibility program officer, farmer community facilitator, -Revisit the structure of CEDAC

As the result, we could discuss and decide some main points such as:

-We have thought about the main criteria of staff who are able to include as the member of FNP core team and we have determined the unique role of FNP's core team members, especially to distinguish the different role between FNP's core team and FNP's coordination team.

-In relating to the future strategy of FNP, we will try to develop more proposal to expand our field activity. Specifically, the proposal relating to women empowerment will be developed and Mr. Tath Sok and Ms. Mok Chenda are hopefully to be the persons who are responsible for this task. Additionally, the participants have also discussed how to strengthen the quality of FNP's rural development work, for example the discussion on the optimal number of target village that should be responsible for one staff or FCF (Farmer Community Facilitator).

-Concerning to CFA, we will develop a clear contract with them if they are recruited as the project's staff, we need to make clear about the policy support to all of them, especially CEDAC will pay more attention to the quality of CFA in order to ensure that majority of them will be able to find a good job after completion of the course with CEDAC.

-It was nice to review and determine precisely the role and responsibility of FNP’s staff at different position, such as the role and responsibility of FNP's director, program officer, zonal coordinator/provincial coordinator, project coordinator, project officer and farmer community facilitator, etc. It is to remark that the program officer of FNP need to be responsible to manage 3 development projects at least. On the other hand, we have agreed to continue discussion on capitalization of practical experience of FNP and strategic support to FNN (Farmer and Natural Net) on the other days, the meeting will be taken place on 26-27 August 2008 at CJCC (Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Center) in Phnom Penh.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Meeting of AIBC3 working group

I would like to brief you the internal meeting of AIBC3 working group that was held on June 06, 2008 at CEDAC office in Phnom Penh.The main meeting’s agenda is indicated as follows: -Sharing attractive information and activity and result of the project -Summing up the progress of chicken producer group -Preparing format for data collection on the project’s impact -Training on main poultry diseases in Cambodia -Providing impression and making appointment for next meeting. Based on the result of the meeting, we could know that during May 2008, the project’s staff have done some activities as follows:

-10 commune workshops were organized with 123 commune council members and village chief, among them 21 are women.
-4 district workshops with representatives of chicken producer groups were organized with 311 participants, 73 women.
-15 village meetings were organized in order to set up chicken producer group, 189 participants participated in the meeting
-30 training sessions for village promoters were organized with 483 VPs (149 women) Particularly, up to now, the number of chicken producer group has increased up to 751groups (9294 group members). It is a success rate that the project’s donor may well satisfy because the project expectation is only 500 chicken producer group if refer to the project document.

It seems to be that the project has succeeded in forming up chicken producer group. It is apart of the project’s success because number of chicken producer group is one among the main project’s outputs. Additionally, we can conclude that the participants understand more and more about the main poultry diseases especially we have learned about the basis and how to prevent chicken from disease, for example the definition of disease, source of diseases come from, how to prevent it, etc.

The meeting provided us the basic idea and guideline for organizing group training on poultry disease to village promoters and other beneficiary farmers. With the understanding on lesson of disease, it stimulated us to take action on prevention method rather than cure or treatment. Therefore, if farmers would like to get a good result, they actually need to improve the prevention method.

Additionally, meanwhile the meeting, we could see the progress of number of chicken producer group especially the situation of collective selling that is likely not so progressing well due to shortage of negotiation skill and marketing strategy with middlemen. Ultimately, all of us have agreed to collect data of project’s impact based on the distributed form and the result will be given back on 09 July 2009 during the training on interpersonal skill. The result of this study will be helpful to determine the project’s impact both quantitative and qualitative information.

Field visit to ALP Modulkiri

From 21-24 July 2008, I had been at Sok San commune, Koh Ngek district of Modulkiri province to conduct the field monitoring support for the project, namely ALP "Agriculture Livelihood Project".

During the visit, I have reviewed the activity plan of the project as well as the project output that we have achieved so far. Generally, i could see that the project has achieved as planed, excepted one activity, called "village general meeting to share agriculture innovation" we have done one meeting out of 4 expected meetings.

Furthermore, we see that there are now 4 farmers have applied SRI experiment and there will be around other 20 farmers are interested to apply SRI in case of they have enough raining water in the field. Some other agriculture innovations like vegetable growing, ecological chicken raising have been conducted by several farmers.

During the visit, i have also discussed with the project staff on the overview of the project's progress in term of activities and output-based. Additionally, we have also consulted to anticipate about the next quarterly activity plan and expected output. It is to note that most of farmers have not yet transplanted their rice because they have no enough water for transplanting. There will be more farmers apply SRI while they have water. Recently, we observed that farmers are busy to plow their rice field as the rain started.

CEDAC's core team meeting at CJCC

On 25 July 2008, there is a special meeting among the core team members of CEDAC at CJCC to discuss about the perspective of CEDAC beyond 2008. Dr. Yang Saing Koma presented the historical background of CEDAC as well as the current progress. Later on, we have discussed about decentralization of each CEDAC's component like CEDAC-NGO (included Field Program, consulting service, publication), CEDAC enterprise for social development (CESDE), and CEDAC institute for local development (CILD). We talked about the risk and solution to challenge the risk, especially we have presented the future perspective of each main components of CEDAC beyond 2008. As the importance of the meeting, we have made clear about our destination and how to reach it. Additionally, the discussion on collaboration among each component was raised for talking, including the role and responsibility of CEDAC's president. To me, I think that we have gained more idea relating to decentralization of each component of CEDAC. However, what we actually need to do urgently is to make sure what we want to do and how to achieve it as well as to realize it into the practice.