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A Return to Cambodia Leads to Farming for Taing Han

Posted On: April 25, 2024
Farmer Taing Han harvests a handful of long yard beans.
Taing Han harvests some of his yard long beans.

KAMPOT PROVINCE, CAMBODIA – At age 42, Taing Han is finally where he wants to be—at home in Cambodia with his family, amid thriving rows of yard long beans.

After spending 12 hard years as a migrant construction worker outside of the country, Taing Han returned to Kampot Province in 2022. His father was aging, and his son had dropped out of school in grade 7 due to a lack of family support. While Taing Han knew he wanted to take care of his family, livelihood opportunities in his village of Pong Tuek were less clear.

“I did not know what business would be best for me in my hometown,” Taing Han said. “I thought a lot about how to make a living, and then I decided to try growing vegetables, despite having no experience or skills.”

He prepared a field and planted cucumber seeds, with the support of his wife and father. When he later faced issues with pests attacking his crop, a fellow farmer suggested that he contact East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation.

His lack of knowledge about how to protect his cucumbers, and his passion to learn more about vegetable farming, led him to enroll in the Grow Against the Flow project in April 2023. Co-funded by the World Vegetable Center, this 4-year project focused on training farmers in off-season vegetable production techniques, enabling them to grow crops even under difficult climatic conditions.

Farmer Taing Han inspects his yard long bean rows for insects at his farm in Kampot Province, Cambodia.
Taing Han inspects a row of yard long bean plants for pests.

“The Knowledge Transfer team checked my farm for insects and taught me pest control measures. They alerted me about insects and pests that were damaging my crops, which I was previously unaware of,” Tiang Han said. They also recommended that he diversify his farm, and he began to grow yard long beans.

He participated in multiple training programs through the project, learning about drip irrigation, pest and disease management, trellising, and much more.

His first crop of yard long beans, grown on 700 square meters of land, brought him a net profit of 3,241,100 riels (US$800), a 603% return on investment. His second crop, on a 600-square-meter plot, made a net profit of 1,537,400 riels (US$380), a 347% return on investment.

Tiang Han now grows cucumbers and yard long beans on 4,500 square meters of land, alongside rice cultivation and animal husbandry. With the farming skills and knowledge he has gained, he plans to grow more vegetables, such as tomatoes and chili peppers, in the future.