Veal Veng district is located about 130 km from Pursat town, which is divided into 5 communes and 20 villages with a total population of 27,484 and under area of 4,311 Km2. The Veal Veng district borders on the north with Battambang province and Thailand, on the south with Koh Kong province, on the east with the Cardamom Mountains (Phnom Kravanh) and Ta Lo Senchey district, and on the north with the end of Cardamom Mountain, which extends from the eastern end of Veal Veng district to the Thailand border. Veal Veng is a district with potential to expand new opportunities for horticultural production and better value chain linkages for the market.
As the area is surrounded by mountains, farmers there used to grow only industrial crops such as corn and cassava, which was a seasonal source of income, while other potential crops were not yet considered for family income. As a new area with farmers not yet adapting to horticultural production, additional incomes were dependent on sub- forest products, cutting down trees and wild vegetables. The house land compound and fields were left empty, without vegetables, or just planting only for family consumption. The infrastructure improvements to National Road number 10 from the Government, which connected linkages from Battambang to Koh Kong province through Veal Veng district, has made this mountainous area more potentially for crop production and marketing to boost future agricultural exports.
By seeing the potential as well as constrain factors of horticulture production in Veal Veng district, the Pro Market project has collaborated with local authorities such as district governors, district agriculture offices, as well as villages and commune chiefs along with communities to form 6 producer groups with 125 members, which covers a total area of about 16.8 hectares.
To increase farmers’ confidence in vegetable production, the project has equipped them with agricultural technical skills, such as proper seed selection, crop nursery installation, soil preparation covered with plastic/mulching to prevent from erosion and weeds, proper fertilizers application according to technical standards, irrigation systems and solar pump installation, commercial farm management, post-harvest quality storage, including product classification and shipping, business investment concept, marketing knowledge that included products segmentation and supply chains, financial management and profit and loss analysis, etc. In addition, the project has partnered with others relevant stakeholders, both public and private sectors to enable them to see more new opportunities on potential vegetable growing for export in Veal Veng district.
Based on the evidential confirmation from model farmers, those who have adapted and made significant improvements on commercial vegetable production to increase and ensure vegetable products for the supply of both domestic and off-provincial markets, shown that the expansion of vegetable farms has increased from 20% to 95% in three years, turning from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture. Yields have also increased from 19% to 91% since the first year of project implementation. Due to the quality of products, based on the farmer’s report, the demand in both domestic and exporting to major markets outside the province has increased significantly, as from 40% to 87% for domestic markets and from 8% to 97% for premium markets.
“After receiving a series of vegetable technical trainings from Pro-Market project, I gained more confidence and started to transform the vacant land that once was left without crops to be a commercial farm which gave me higher incomes to improve my family’s living standards and as well better handle my bank debt. My farm was very impressive to the Veal Veng district governor and from the Ministry of Environment who came to visit and express their appreciation that I was able to adapt practices and improve abandoned land into a diversified vegetable farm.” Mr. Sim Touch in Doun Neak village Pramoay commune Veal Veang district
“Gaining leadership and management skills from the project has made me confident and capable to continue building better leadership capacity for other women in my community in contribution to the improvement of their family’s social and economic livelihoods.” Ms. Khuon Sey PG leader of Pramouy village, Pramouy commune, Veal Veng district
“Due to an accident and spending a lot of money on medical treatment, my family was in debt and was struggling to pay just the interest to the bank. After joining the producer group I received training in both vegetable growing techniques and marketing knowledge and my daughter was trained to become a vegetable collector. This has enabled my family to increase our income and be able to handle the bank interest payments and to support our family’s daily needs. Growing vegetables really creates an important source of income for my family” Mrs. Long Sreymom a market assistant of Stieng Thmey PG at Stieng Thmey village, Pramoay commune , Veal Veang district
“Through skills and experiences I gained from the project, I have built my ability and confidence to start and adapt investing in a commercial vegetable farm and connecting with premium markets such as the market in Phnom Penh with high prices. Nowadays, there many collectors are in contact with the flow of vegetable orders. Sometimes they hardly find enough vegetables to meet the increased demand.” Mrs. Pen Sithol deputy of Tompor PG at Tompor village Promaoy commune, Veal Veang district
“Since joining the producer group, I have had the opportunity to link my products more widely to collectors in different provinces, such as Battambang and it has inspired me to extend production capacity on my farm” Mr. Kloy Tep (white long-sleeved shirt) a member of Doun Neak PG at Doun Neak village, Pramoay commune , Veal Veang district
“Our Producer Group has made a significant contribution to motivating producers in working together to link its products to other partners in order to expand opportunities on vegetable supply chains in the market. At the same time, we have built farmers’ confidence in expanding on commercial production.” Mrs. Ai Seanghay a leader of Krasangpnov PG at Krasangpnov village, Pramoay commune , Veal Veang district
“Comparing the beginning of 2020 to the present, my family economic situation is almost 100% improved. Earning/selling about $ 1,250 a month from commercial vegetable growing is enough to financially support my family for food and other household’s necessities” Mrs. Nob Kolab a market assistant of Anlong Reap PG at Kandal village, Anlong Reap commune, Veal Veng district
The Sustainable Produce to Market Value Chain Enhancement (Pro-Market) Project is operated by ADRA Cambodia with support from the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ADRA New Zealand, and ADRA Australia.