Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Field mission to Agriculture Livelihood Project in Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia

Agriculture Livelihood Program for the Sok San Indigenous Community,
Koh Ngiek district, Mondulkiri province
From 20-24 January 2009


From 20-24 January 2009, Mr. Kin Mengse, senior program officer and Mr. Yim Sok Sophors, junior program officer of CEDAC have conducted a 5-day field supporting mission to the project ALP. The purpose of the mission is to review the project’s progress and to coach the project staff in facilitating some important events of the project like SRI workshop and project assessment workshop. The activities relating to the field mission are conducted in different characteristics as follows:

-Meeting with the project staff to review the project progress (comparison between the actual result and the expectation)
-Field visit and individual interview with the cooperating farmers
-Demonstrating the project staff how to facilitate the SRI workshop, the project assessment workshop,
-Wrap-up meeting with the project’s donor, WWF


1. Reflection meeting with the project staff

First of all, the support officers and the project staff sat together to conduct an overview of the project especially to see the progress of project implementation and results in comparison to the project’s expectation which have set in the project document.
The quarterly activity plan and expectation was also raised for overview among the project staff. It is to note that some of the activities have been achieved well but some other activities are needed to be done later on.

However, the project staff needs to take more attention to some activities such as:

-Providing award to 12 farmers who have adopted/adapted successfully the agricultural innovations promoted by the project
-Thematic workshop on agricultural technique
-Village general meeting
-Capacity building for key farmers

2. Individual farmer interview

Several farmers in the target villages were met and interviewed about their progress after cooperation with the project. The knowledge and actual technical practice of farmers were assessed by asking questions and direct visit to the farm.

It is to note that 4 farmers have already grown vegetable in Klang Lei village, they have prepared vegetable garden the average size of 0.01-0.02 ha. The main thing to encourage farmers in adapting vegetable growing is the exposure visit that was organized by the project staff to Ratanakiri province. Some farmers bought materials and equipments for vegetable growing after coming back from the visit.
It is to note the project staff has organized one exposure visit to Ratanakiri province and key farmers of ALP are more motivated since they have directly seen the practice of indigenous farmers in Ratanakiri province, additionally they are also interested in setting up community shop as it provides much benefit to the group members.

Concerning to the updated information of agricultural innovations, the project staff needs to pay attention to collect the reliable data information, there in fact more farmers have applied innovations but we could collect some of them only. Alternatively, the project staff should train community field assistants and key farmers to help in collecting the data.

3. Facilitating the workshops on SRI and Progress Assessment Workshop

Mr. Chiev Sopheak, the project officer of ALP has facilitated the SRI workshop and the project assessment workshop under participation with the field mission team. The supporting officers and the project staff have discussed together about the agenda and methodology for organizing each event. It is to note there were over than 50 farmers have participated in each workshop; they come and shared what they have done either agricultural technical practice (SRI, vegetable growing) or social farmer groups (collective saving groups).

Those events are necessary important to provide opportunities for cooperating farmers and non-cooperating farmers as well as the local authorities to keep in touch with the progress of the project
It is to note that the action plan of each individual farmer has been developed and hopefully there will be more and more farmers have applied innovations for the next season.

The project staff should organize more meetings or trainings with farmers in groups, it will motivate farmers to apply agricultural innovations and the level of dissemination is enlarged. The reflection meeting or workshop with the participation of cooperating farmers and non-cooperating farmers as well as the local stakeholders is necessary important to ensure a good project’s impact.

4. Meeting with WWF

At the end of the mission day, Mr. Kin Mengse has presented the result of the field mission to WWF at the office of WWF in Mondulkiri provincial town. It was a chance to present the updated and finding of the field mission and also discussed about the review of the project relating to budget and financial report, activities plan for the second year, etc.

During the discussion, some agreed points come out as follows:
-CEDAC will prepare the budget plan for the second year of the project, CEDAC will also revise some budget lines, such as the salary for the project staff and field mission to the project,
-Prepare the activity plan of the project for the second year implementation
-Remind the project staff to send regularly the project activity report to WWF

Mr. Kin Mengse also shared some ideas relating to the training on leadership that was organized by CEDAC for several time, the concept of professional CBO that can play role to provide development services in the community. On the other hand, WWF also shared about the project concerning to aquaculture (fish raising) which is funded by the commune, if CEDAC interest for this project, it is really good, WWF said.


Based on the result of field mission, it is able to conclude that the project has conducted several important events at the end of the first year in order to sum-up and present the result of the project to the local stakeholders included the cooperating farmers, non-cooperating farmers, local authorities (village chief and commune council members). Additionally, the rice yield of SRI practice is almost double comparing to the yield of traditional practice.

Furthermore, it is to note that farmers are well understood about the advantages of collective saving groups and they are interested in participating in the group. Furthermore, there are more farmers have grown vegetable during this time. Additionally, it is to note that some key farmers are good potential in applying agricultural innovations and they are now becoming a good model farmer in the target villages of the project.


These are some recommendation for improving the project:

-The project staff needs to make effort in updating the progress data of technical innovations otherwise the project will not be able to reach its real situation and reliable data. In fact, the number of farmers who have applied technical innovations
-The project staff should invite representative from WWF to join the important events which organized by the project, it will be helpful to ensure good information flow among the implementing agency and funding agency,
-Mr. Cheav Sopheak needs to send regularly the monthly activity report of the project to WWF so that WWF will be able to keep in touch with the progress of the project,
-The project staff should contact the school teachers and health centers for demonstration of vegetable growing
-The capacity building on budget management of the project is needed to provide for the project staff

Additionally, WWF will conduct a field mission to the project’s target area in order to see the progress of the project especially the level of agricultural adoption by the target farmers.
CEDAC will prepare budget plan for the second year of the project, financial report of the project in year 1, activity plan for year 2, and those will be sent to WWF at the first week of February 2009.

It is to note that CEDAC will revise some budget lines concerning to the salary of the project’s staff and another line on supporting mission to the project, CEDAC proposed it to be conducted every 2 months.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Linking Small Farmers to Market

Concerning to the project "Linking Farmers to Market for Rural Prosperity in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng provinces of Cambodia" which has been implementing by CEDAC (Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture)is now moving on the progress. It is to note that IDE (International Development Enterprises) which is the funding agency of this project has recently facilitated to select PEA (Private Extension Agents), PEA will be the one who link farmers access to high quality agriculture input supplies, specialized on vegetable seeds and drip irrigation equipments and so on.

Regarding to the farmers' activities in the field, vegetable growing have been applying after harvesting rice. It is a good time for vegetable growing in Cambodia meanwhile farmers have already harvested rice in December and January and there are some remaining raining water in the rice field or ponds so that they can grow vegetable, the vegetable is mainly used for family consumption. Actually, most of Cambodian farmers are highly dependent on raining water as they have no access to irrigation scheme like canal, etc. By the reason, farmers are hard to grow vegetable especially in the dry season meanwhile they have no sufficient water for watering their crops. The arable land is kept free without any cover crops, it indicates that farmers have not used as much as possible the productivity of arable land and poor knowledge and skill in term of soil nutrient management in the dry season, the rice straw were slashed and burned without understanding of its advantages for covering the land.

60%-70% of vegetables in Cambodia has been imported from Vietnam (IDE Cambodia), so it is a good potential for Cambodian farmers to grow vegetables for domestic supply. But the constraint is high production cost that is not able to compete with imported products. SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURAL FARMING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED!