Thursday, July 30, 2009

Animal feed processing business

Written by Mr. Him Neun

With the supporting grant from EU and EED, CEDAC has been implementing Poverty Reduction among subsistence rice farmers through the promotion of sustainable livelihood system (PRS-EU) project from January, 2008. The project will finish in December, 2010. The project covers in 260 villages of four districts in Takeo and Kampong Speu provinces.

The project has providing technical supports the small scale farmers in organizing collective buying and selling group especially animal feed processing enterprise.

As mentioned above, on July 18 2009, Romon village Beung tranh khangcheung commune Samrong district, Takeo province was selected as a target village of the project, an animal feed processing was established with technical assistance from the project. There are 9 members (1 woman) with start up capital of 3,000,000 Riels (did not include the price of milling machine).

The main objectives of this business are:
- To increase income (as a result of higher price, reduced losses and stable markets)
- To supply animal feeds to markets by empowering the bargaining power between the producers and middlemen,
- To strengthen the relations among of folder growers and feed processors who are interacting together in the process of animal feed producing.

Up to now, 2 times of milling are operated with the quantity of 400 kg. It is expected that this business will operate successfully as the farmers in the village are strongly need animal feeds for the enhancement of their family's livestock production.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rubber Tree Growing in S. E. Asia Expanding, Along with Risks

July 27th, 2009
Written by Michael Ricciardi
Eco Worldly Unrestricted expansion of rubber tree plantations in South East Asia could lead to “devastating environmental effects”, according to authors Ziegler, Fox and Xu writing in a May, 2009 perspective article in Science.

Throughout the “montane” (foot hill and low mountainous) mainland of South East Asia (inclusive of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and China), rubber plantations are expanding. So far, an estimated half million hectares have been planted, and by 2050, that land mass area could triple. This expansion will come at a cost to broad leaf, evergreen forests and “swidden” areas (with vegetation from older slash and burn efforts).

Replacing both primary and secondary forests, the authors assert, will have an impact on long-term bio-diversity (creating “permanent monocultures”) and reduced total carbon biomass (note: forests derived much of their carbon biomass from uptake of atmospheric CO2).

Much of the current planting of rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis, aka Para Rubber trees, whose sap is pure latex) is along sloping land areas and on foot hill and mountain sides (often converted to step agriculture) which naturally channel water into streams and lakes at lower elevations. The danger and risks from this expanding agricultural effort are many, and include: accelerated erosion of soil cover, excess stream sedimentation m(due to repeat cultivation on slope without adequate conservation), increased landslide risks (due to permanent conversion and road building), depletion of streams and lakes (due to irrigation needs), and decreased water quality (from pesticides and fertilizer runoff). Many of these risks and hazards–including permanent loss of forest cover–have already been encountered by farmers growing palm oil mono-cultures further into the interior of this region.

Perhaps ironically, these risks come on with a near half-century effort to mitigate, diminish swidden, slash-and-burn practices that were believed to be at the time quire environmentally destructive. Although these older practices did have some environmental and ecological consequences, over the years it has become clear from observation and studies that these consequences (in this region) were not as negative as once expected. Collectively, these various nation’s policies to move away from these practices (which are also less industry-efficient ones) and establish more productive cultivation systems, is resulting in far more harm, according to the authors, than the previous swidden agriculture base.

Scientists now must focus their research on studies of evapo-transpiration and hydrology (total water use) in these forests to determine real environmental impacts. The governments of Cambodia and Thailand are currently conducting such studies and it is hope that other nations will follow suit. Also, efforts are underway to expand reserve areas to preserve biodiversity and carbon biomass. Some have sugested paying farmers not to cut down the evergreen forests. The authors cited here also suggest encouraging “diversified agro-forestry systems” which permits extensive planting of rubber and palm oil trees, but not as monocultures. These systems represent a sort of “hybrid” compromise between total preservation of all forested areas and the creation of monoculture plantations, which produce a myriad of negative ‘eco’ and ‘enviro’ effects.

Agricultural Development Cooperative

Written by Nhep Mengcheang,

Sahakum Akpiwat Kaksekam Angkor Dong Tung, named in English “Dong Tung Rice Agricultural Development Cooperative” was found on 6th November 2008. The CBO was registered as “Agricultural Development Cooperative” on 08th June 2009 with Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA). The cooperative consists of 55 members, of whom 18 are women. This CBO is located in Trapaing Rosey Village, Damnak Sokrom Commune, Dong Tung District, Kampot Province. The objectives of establishment this cooperative are shown as follows:

• To buy and sell collectively paddy
• To mill paddy for rice selling
• To conduct collective saving and to provide credit service
• To promote agro ecological innovation
• To communicate and negotiate with business man in terms of price negotiation

Since October 2008, CEDAC started implement the project, namely CSPPM to support this CBO. By the support, the CBO was registered with CSPPM on December 2008. After registered, the project provided more coaching and training sessions and follow up support to CBO executive members as follows:

• Strengthening the CBO on practical management and leadership;
• Facilitating the CBOs to assess what is real needs of their members and priority of those needs;
• Training CBO on proposal writing;
• Facilitating the development of small grant project on community management for submission to CRS;
• Training CBO executive members on CIP development process and how to participate and raise voice or advocate to stakeholders for putting more emphasize on natural resource management and community business.

Although CBO was formed and recognized by Commune Council for improving the need of community both food and price of goods; but it has not yet been supported by government line agencies, especially the Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA). Additionally, executive members and community are working collectively on rice business (collective buying and selling), but the CBO have not yet have enough voice for an effective negotiation on business and officially recognition from the PDA. By understanding of the problem, the executive members with the technical support from CEDAC have consulted with the community farmers on how to increase/raise voice to businessmen and line agencies. Based on the consulting meeting, first CBO should be registered as “Agricultural Development Cooperative”, in order to
publicly announce to stakeholders and products, especially line agencies, local authorities and businessmen.

By supporting fund from small grant of CSPPM, the CBO organized the general assembly to finalize the regulation and election. During the general assembly, Mr Mak Seung, Director of Department of Agriculture Extension, Mr Chan Jesda, Director of Kampot PDA, Dr Yang Saing Koma, President of CEDAC and local authorities have also participated in the meeting.
Based on the result, Ministry and Department of Agriculture understood and recognized CBO. Additionally, CBO was registered and recognized officially as “Angkor Dong Tung Agricultural Development Cooperative” by the PDA of Kampot on 8th June 2009.
Being as “Agricultural Development Cooperative”, the CBO could be supported by MAFF both technical support and financial support. Actually, on 8th July 2009 the CBO was funded 1,500,000 riel for first stage from MAFF. In addition, MAFF and PDA promised to provide further support both technique and fund.

Since the cooperation with CSPPM, this CBO members impress that they are getting better in terms of knowledge and understanding on how to solve the problem, how to develop the proposal, what is the importances of cooperative registration as well aware of advantages of collective business and the natural resources. The cooperation and communication with line agencies has increased remarkably and PDA also have strong supported to this CBO.

Monday, July 27, 2009

FNN meeting 15-16 July 2009

Written by YIM Sok Sophors

Farmer and Natural Net (FNN) is the net of ecological farmer associations, who cooperate with each other and consumers for the purpose of ensuring food sovereignty, strengthening cooperation among people, developing local economy and conserving natural resources. The net is established with initial support from CEDAC and other partners by using external development aid and donation, but later on, it is nurtured, managed, and sustained by the members, with limited external facilitating support. At national level, the net would be also linked with other farmer net, such as the net of water user community, fishery communities etc., so that it become a strong coalition for the development of family agriculture and community based natural resources management.

FNN organized a national FNN committee meeting on 15-16 July 2009 with the participation of 24 FNN committees (included 9 women or 37.5% of the total participants) who are the representatives of FNN at the provincial level, the participants are also included Mr. Oun Sophal who is the president of FNN at the national level. All of the participants come from 11 provinces, which are the coverage provinces of FNN. Please click here for more detail...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Group announces first milled-rice exports


THE Cambodian Rice Millers Association (CRMA) has announced its first successful export sale of high-quality local rice.

CRMA said it will deliver 200 tonnes of Grade-One jasmine rice to Hong Kong in September, a further 200 tonnes in October, and another 1,000 tonnes in December in the US$1.1 million deal.

CRMA President Phou Puy added that companies from Germany, the Philippines and Brunei are currently negotiating to buy hundreds of thousands of tonnes of milled fragrant rice next year.

The Hong Kong deal, to an unnamed company, comes on the heels of CRMA's July purchase of 4,000 tonnes of unmilled Malis rice from farmers in Battambang's Bai Tong commune for domestic demand and exports. And it follows CRMA's $7 million purchase last year of Taiwanese rice-drying machines and modern packaging materials from Japan.

"We no longer face obstacles in exporting high-quality rice because we have a drying machine, mills and the latest packaging materials," Phou Puy said. "We will buy 40,000 tonnes of unmilled Malis rice from farmers between October and December to support our exports in 2010."

Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Centre for Study and Development in Agriculture, said news of the exports was a boon to the nation's farmers, who could switch focus from low-quality to high-quality rice strains that earn more money.

The statistics department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said on Monday that Cambodia would harvest an extra 100,000 tonnes of rice this year provided it is not hit by drought or flood.

The Kingdom has 2.6 million hectares of land under rice cultivation producing 7.1 million tonnes of rice. Last year Cambodia exported 3.1 million tonnes of rice.

Monday, July 13, 2009

First impression on HMB

Writen by Mr. Keb Ratana,

I would like to send you about my impression on starting up with Happy Mountain Bird (HMB) project, in Kampong Chchnang province. Moreover, the project has been actively working on 300 target villages focusing on Children Education included 105 villages base on two sectors Children Education and Agriculture promotion (with 533 target families). In total, we have been working for 300 villages in 40 communes of 5 districts (Kampong Trolach, Samaki Meanchey, Teok Pos, Relear Phaear and Boribor).

The following points is my impression from my main activities with HMB team work:

• Reading the project document: I have spent one day for realizing on the project document by crosschecking with Mr. Yim Bunlong (the project Officer) on the meaning of document and the reality of project implementation at the field. As the result, I noticed that the number of target village was changed from 210 villages for both Children Education and Agriculture Promotion to 195 villages based on Education and 105 villages based on both sectors (Agriculture and Education) with 533 target families.

• HMB team meeting under facilitation from Mr. Yi Kimthan (Program Officer): I am really interested in our supporting to CBF and CEP, which was mentioned by facilitator. There are many kinds of our supports such as: Capacity building, monthly training, exchange visit, individual advice, motivation them to work …etc. Anyway, I could learn from our team on the project donor’s attitude and behaviors on our activities, which I and our team have to be patient and try to follow his idea. We could said that it is very good chance to learn from living and work with difficult people. In addition, building capacity of CBF and CEP is very important to push our project reach to the final achievement, so we should classify strong and weak CBF/CEP as the different groups in order to be easy in organizing the training session.

• General discussion on HMB experiences with Mr. Yim Bunlong: 2 hours that we spent for sharing on the method of working with the poorest families. One to one conversation is the best method to use with the poorest. During the discussion with the poorest, we just chat with them in simple way (informal discussion) by talking the recent and past situation of their families then compare with other families, who had the same situation in the past, and now they have been improving/not improving in the present (How could they improve the living condition? Why they still poor?). Finally, we asked them (Do you want to improve your life? and how could you improve to change their life?). In short, I could learn that to make them realize on their living condition and reflection on his past events is very important to change their life and attitude.

• Financial management: Mr. Bun Long and Miss. Om Sitha have provided me a lot of thing on financial management. Miss. Om Sytha, project accountant, will lead and manage budget for settlement and advanced from head office of CEDAC. All receipts will be kept with her, and the project officer approved on the advance, payment receipt and checked on receipt and budget line. Moreover, Mr. Yim Bunlong has given me for more advice about skils of financial management, it is very interesting to learn what I have never known before.

• Field visit with Mr. Yim Sarom (Field Trainer based in Boribor and Rolea Phaear district): I have visited the target families, Children Education Promoter (CEP), Primary School Manager. I impressed that when our project’s staffs came to meet primary school principals to discuss about our work on promoting children to go to school, we could notice that they were happy. It is very important in order to find supports from them, and to make our CEP feel warm in meeting with school teachers and school principals. So after our intervention, the data collection was conducted smoothly from cooperation between school teacher, CEP and primary school manager. On the other hand, I found that target families, in Boribo district, have been improving on their livelihood by developping Home Garden with many kinds of vegetables.

• Participated in the Field Program Meeting at PP: It was the first time for me for participating in the meeting. From the meeting, I could notice that the meeting is very important for reflection, realize from each other on the project activities and cooperation with each other. So I’ll try to take part in all Field Program Meetings. Moreover, I will prepare the presentation slide for next meeting at Kam Pot province on Happy Mountain Bird (HMB) Project.

• For team work: According to my observation for one week, I could not say anything I need more time learn about them.

In summing up, I could learn a lot of new thing for my work life for one week with HMB project in the following points:
1. I have learnt that project document is very good to read for our project implementation in the right way, which had set in the document. Moreover we have to be careful on the meaning of each point.
2. Reflection on our activities is the best way to monitor and reform into the right way and in time as we planed.
3. I have learnt that financial management has to be more flexibility and clear about each line. Because we could use some lines to push our activities went smoothly or reach to our goal.
4. Field monitoring by going along with our staffs to see the real work situation is a good way to help them for solving problem and sharing idea to each other on our implementation.

All above is my impression in starting work for HMB project form 06 to 10 of July 2009, moreover, I am looking forward to hear from you for providing me some ideas and recommendations in order to improve my activities.

I would like to be grateful on all of you for providing me with a big opportunity to fulfill this task with our organization and country.

Friday, July 10, 2009

FNP core team meeting

Written by YIM Sok Sophors

July 10, 2009 the core team meeting of CEDAC field program was organized with 25 staff, they are all the project officers, program officers and program director. The meeting lasted for one day from the morning to the evening. I observed that it is good that all of the participants have shared their project's progress to each other so that we can share and learn the information from each other. I note that the program officers are likely interested to pay attention to the commune projects, to pay attention about quality of the work. Many staff who have been implementing such project shared their knowledge and experience of implementing this project to one another. Miss. Kong Sokchhoin, the secretariate of FNN also participated in the meeting and she shared about the progress of FNN in terms of receiving the financial support from the international donor.

Additionally, the other project officers have shared about the progress of SRI practices at the beginning of this rainy season. Most of the projects have organized the SRI campaigns during this month. During the meeting, Mr. Meas Samica presented about the project "Farmer Training in SRI and Farmer Organization". The general informaiton of the project was presented by comparing the actual results and the expected results. Additionally, the important lessons-learned of implementing the project was also presented during the presentation. Ultimately, the participants have discussed about the action research that will be conducted by each project.

The result of the meeting is good as we have known the progress of the project, we have strengthened the management and implementation of the project, we have knew and learned in detail about the experiences and implementing strategies of the project Farmer Training in SRI and Farmer Organization, and we have determined the number of groups and farmers for conducting participatory action research in this year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Presentation on SRI to the Philippino farmers

Written by Yim Sok Sophors

On July 08, 2009 I (Yim Sok Sophors) have presented about SRI (System of Rice Intensification) to 3 visitors from the Philippines. Generally, I presented about the SRI principles, 12 SRI techniques and to compare between the conventional practices and the SRI practices. What are the differences? Additional, I also presented about the activity and strategy of CEDAC in promoting and disseminating SRI in the country. To me, I think that we have exchanged knowledge and information to each other very well. During the presentation, i noted that all visitors were interested in the techniuqe of selection good seed and especially the seed purificaiton method.
It is to note that those Philippine farmers will also allocate their time to conduct field visit at the target villages of CEDAC directly. Actually, they will be able to learn more idea for the experienced farmers.

M&E team meeting

Written by YIM Sok Sophors

On July 07, 2009 the M&E team members met Dr. Yang Saing Koma, the president of CEDAC for discussion what M&E team can and will do from now on. In fact, there are many works which are possibly implemented by this team. Many works were listed during the meeting and we need to discuss among the team members in detail so that we can prepare the activity plan and expectation for the next 6 months in this year. For this month, one important task for this team to study about the impact of global financial crisis to the livelihood of the rural poor.

At the end of the meeting, we are sure about what we will do and we also clear in mind about our work. Importantly, we will more concentrate tot he internal work of CEDAC.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Strategic Meeting at Sihaknouk province

Written by Yim Sok Sophors

From o1 to 03 July, 2009 core staff of CEDAC organized a strategic meeting 2009-2013 at Sihaknouk province for 3 days. At the time, we have conducted the reflection about the factors within CEDAC and outside CEDAC and then to draw up the conclusion and lessons-learned of what we have carried out previously. The present situation of CEDAC was also diagnosed in terms of human resources, capital, services, local development, etc. The barriers/constrainst including both insider and outside factors were analyzed at that time.

Later on, the participants have developed a draft expectation for the next 5 years from 2009 to 2013 based on the current situaation of CEDAC. The following were inclued in the discussion during the meeting:
  1. CEDAC shop
  2. Village bank (Saving)
  3. Research
  4. Organic rice producer group
  5. Number of beneficiaries
  6. ALDA, YCL (Young Community Leader)
  7. CEDAC Farm
  8. Certification of organic product
  9. Vocational training center
  10. Long term research project
  11. Hosting students/visitors
  12. Ecological villages
  13. Young graduate
  14. etc,
Based on the result of the meeting, it enabled me to receive a clear understanding about the strategic plan of CEDAC for 2009-2013. Generally, I noted that CEDAC is moving in progress faster than the plan that is why the strategic plan is always updated in terms of expanding the scope of work. At this time, we will more attention to take into account for strengthening the quality of our work. Additionally, based on the result of the discussion, I myself could mention that CEDAC's staff have a similar point of view in determining the future of CEDAC, it is really good that all of staff have similar perspectives so that it will be a strong energy to move forward.