Kampong Chhnang – Cambodia – June 2019

Boeng Leach Village, Sethey Commune, Samaki Meanchey District, Kampong Chhnang is around 60km away from Phnom Penh and the residents there mostly grow rice and crops, and raise animals. Their farming tends to rely on traditional methods. There is only limited use of modern techniques and therefore the yields are minimal. This has made it almost impossible for some farms to provide for the family. Furthermore, agricultural product market prices often fluctuate at the whim of the middlemen and sometimes the merchants price down the farming products.

With support from Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Cooperative was established and registered officially on 31 December 2012 under the Law on Agricultural Cooperatives. It was registered initially with 53 members of whom 39 were female. Its aim was to (1) look for the markets that can sell farming products at higher prices (2) provide organic agriculture training, and (3) encourage farmers to work as a team to produce agricultural products to meet market demand. They would seek to understand what exactly consumers who wish for farmers products in order to produce products to cater for their needs. Since then, many relevant organizations, particularly FNN as well as the Provincial Agricultural Department,
have offered training courses to community members about crop growing and animal raising technique as well as sponsor tools for animal raising or crop growing.

At the initial establishment of Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Cooperative, they had 25 million riel in capital (each member contribute a share of 50,000 riel). So far there are 288 members of whom 164 are women and the total capital has risen to 865 million consisting of 905 shares (a share with par value of 50,000 riel). Besides based on an Indian project, they helped built a paddy storehouse, paddy drying field and provided pre-post cultivation techniques.

Mr. Chak Thoeun, Chairperson of the Community Board, said, “At present what we focus on is increasing organic vegetable yields and raising Khmer chickens and the community plan to ensure the supply chain to the market; as for vegetables, we sell to KOC Supermarket and Family Market, while Khmer chickens are sold to KOC Supermarket and Picnic Resort.

Currently, as chicken farming and vegetable growing in the community cannot meet market demands due to the varying weights of chickens, it is impossible to ensure the supply chain.
Therefore Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Cooperative established its own market to sell any products not wanted by consumers in Phnom Penh and they have developed their products into a range of different menus, such as grilled chicken for sale in the community.

Mr. Im Sarath, 49, said “At first, I raised only a few chickens and the raising method was to release them to find food themselves. However, this did not provide a good yield. Later I joined
the community and I was taught about chicken raising techniques. I implemented what I learned and my chicken number kept increasing. Nowadays, I have around 150 chickens and earn on average 200,000 to 300,000 riel per sale (once per month or sometimes twice)”.

Ms. Ry Yei, 50, a member of an organic vegetable growing team of 30 families of the Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Community, is speeding up her vegetable growing to meet the demand of supermarkets in Phnom Penh and the community-based market. The income from the growing of organic vegetables can ensure she can sponsor her children studies at university in Phnom Penh.

Farmer Ry Yei added, “The vegetables grown organically can be sold at better prices compared to inorganic ones and sometimes when we are lacking growing techniques, the community will offer us training directly at our site. I grow vegetables as per the demand of the community and I cultivate the vegetables twice a week. Each time it yields 50 to 60kg on average.”

Despite facing some minor problems with markets based in Phnom Penh, organic vegetable growing and chicken raising members of the Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Cooperative does not face a shortage of market demand. As the cooperative established their own market, sometimes the 32 chicken raising families cannot even sufficiently supply the demand in the cooperative itself. On average the cooperative sells 500 to 600 grilled chickens per month; this is excluding the chickens made into other products. As for the vegetables, we do self arrangement whereby the growing members bring their cultivated vegetables for sale at stalls in the cooperative. As the market demand for processed chicken keeps progressing, the cooperative can now hire three staff members to provide services for the cooperative and the cooperative plans to expand their chicken and vegetable market to another location. In the meantime, Boeng Leach Sambophal Agricultural Cooperative is to increase its members in order to produce sufficient yield to meet market demands.

Note: USD 1 appr. 4000 KH-riel

By: Farmer and Nature Net (FNN), 2019