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Farming is a business

Cambodia Agribusiness Development Facility (CADF) focuses on increasing the profit of small-scale commercial farmers


In addition to cultivating rice, Vy Horn and her husband Chhuth Chhoeung grew cucumber, eggplant, and leafy vegetables to supplement their household income. Then they saw the profit that a relative had made growing melons, which he had learned through the Cambodia Agribusiness Development Facility (CADF). Vy and Chhuth decided to plant melons, too.

iDE Hero Cambodia Key Agriculture Project

With continued technical support from iDE’s field technicians, Vy and Chhuth’s first two melon crops on their own land were successful and they earned more than $5,000 in profit.

CADF is a program funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and implemented by iDE with partner Plant & Food Research. Through CADF, iDE identifies market opportunities and constraints for small-scale farmers and then designs solutions that can be implemented by small local businesses. By improving access to technical assistance, market information, quality inputs, and new technologies, iDE strengthens the value chain that links all of the agricultural market players together. At the same time, iDE helps small-scale farmers to participate more effectively in the value chain, taking advantage of new market opportunities like establishing a melon association, and creating a brand for melons. The farmers we work with aim to evolve into larger horticultural enterprises.

For over 12 years, iDE’s CADF program has been supported by successive grants from the New Zealand Aid Programme, an unprecedented partnership of ongoing funding driven by the consistent results in increased incomes achieved year-after-year.

Succeeding in business in rural Cambodia

Because Vy and Chhuth were new to melon growing, they had to learn by working with their more experienced relative. They gained the experience and confidence they needed to reduce the risk in trying something new. They began growing melons in their own rice fields after acquiring a loan from a microfinance institute for seeds and other start-up costs.

Vy and Chhuth’s first two melon crops on their own land were successful and they earned more than $5,000 in profit. After the last harvest, they decided to rotate crops, switching to a new variety of melon. The new crop made them an additional $2,000 net profit. Using the money they had earned, Vy and Chhuth have paid back a $5,000 loan for house improvements. They also invested in new ponds for a dry season water supply so that they can grow even more melons.

Chhuth has become an active member of the melon association and he and his wife plan to expand their farm. Chhuth told us, “I need to find a larger plot with good water access in the wet and dry season so that I can grow more crop cycles each year.” This is typical of the successful results of CADF intervention, where farmers seek to expand their businesses with the increased profits they make from production modifications (i.e., improved trellising, drip irrigation, higher-value crops).

Key Results from CADF

CADF - Phase I (2005-2010)

  • 1,158 farmers trained and 6,455 learn indirectly across all value chains

  • Melons introduced as a high value crop and pineapples as an option for unutilized land.

  • Improved pig rearing techniques introduced for feed, disease control, and artificial insemination.

CADF - Phase II (2010-2013)

  • 1,355 new vegetable farmers increased their net annual income by an average of $1,332

  • 1,023 pig raisers increased their net annual income by an average of $1,445

  • Melon growers association and 8 Vegetable Development Communities established

CADF - AVAiL (2011-2014)

  • 693 fruit & vegetable farmers increased their net annual income by an average of $286

  • 534 pig raisers increased their net annual income by an average of $1,071

  • 308 ha of land cleared by demining partner HALO Trust.

CADF - CODES (2014-2019), updated June 2018

  • 460 farmers associated with high-value crops increased their net annual income by an average of $3,894 against the target of $1,500.

  • 2,695 traditional farmers who have transitioned to commercial horticulture increased their net annual income by an average of $1,040 against the target of $500.

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