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Innovative program focuses on increasing profits for small-scale farmers


Tork Noeurt made a living working as a laborer across the border in Thailand. Like many Cambodians, he and his wife Vorn Loeurm would leave their children with relatives while they traveled back and forward. 

But when COVID-19 broke out and the border was closed, the 37-year-old father of two was forced to look for another way to earn a living and provide for his family.

It was about this time he became involved with iDE. With support from a program known as Climate Smart Commercial Horticulture Cambodia (CSmart), Noeurt, who lives in Banteay Meanchey province, began growing cucumbers. 

CSmart is a 5-year, US$5 million program aiming to boost the incomes of local farmers, build value chains and strengthen farmer resilience to changing weather patterns, by training people to use climate-smart technologies and connecting them to robust market systems. 

In Noeurt’s case, iDE agronomists suggested he grow cucumbers because the cash crop could be grown at any time during the year, unlike rice, which requires more water and is preferred by most local farmers. 

Noeurt was provided with technical support from iDE as he installed drip irrigation, wind-resistant trellising, and raised beds. He also added composting, manuring, and a nursery house with shade netting, and other practices he learned from CSmart.

 

From this first crop, Noeurt harvested 4.5 tons of cucumbers, making a profit of US$156 in just two months. Immediately after the first crop, he planted a second crop on the same plot. This time he yielded 6.2 tons making a profit of US$1,261 in the same time frame. “I’ve learned that vegetable growing can provide higher profits and is faster than rice production,” said Noeurt. “You will definitely get successful in production if you have knowledge and know-how”

Noeurt says he and Loeurm won’t be traveling back to Thailand to work as he believes he can earn enough money staying home, growing vegetables.