Innovative Techniques for Change
By Nonin Chhor, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation Manager for Cambodia.
TBOUNG KHMUM PROVINCE, CAMBODIA — Sarin Chreng learned traditional growing practices from his parents. By 2020, he had been farming in Tboung Khmum Province for more than 4 years.
In August 2020, he decided to join the East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT) team in the Grow Against the Flow project in his village, because he wanted to learn new modern techniques to improve his vegetable production and achieve higher yields.
In collaboration with the project, Sarin chose to produce yardlong beans, tomatoes, and caisim. In the first cycle of production, he planted yardlong beans. He worked hard to learn and follow the recommendations from the EWS-KT Technical Field Officer, starting with land preparation and continuing to harvest.
This was challenging because it was his first time using the new techniques. But he was committed to getting a better result, and after the yardlong beans, he continued with EWS-KT for a crop of tomatoes and then a crop with caisim to complete the demonstration project.
Now Sarin has a wealth of knowledge in land preparation, mulching, trellising, water management and irrigation, plant nutrition and fertigation (applying fertiliser through the irrigation system), and crop management following integrated pest and disease management methods, including building shelters to protect leafy vegetables from rain and light. Adopting the techniques taught by EWS-KT, he has plans to quadruple the size of production, from 1,000 square metres to 4,000 square metres.
Sarin is very satisfied with the training and hands-on practice provided by EWS-KT through the Grow Against the Flow project. He is willing to share his new knowledge with neighbouring farmers and invites them to visit his farm.
Grow Against the Flow enables smallholder farmers in Cambodia and Lao PDR to increase safe, year-round vegetable production by teaching them techniques for growing and harvesting vegetables in difficult climatic conditions. Cultivating crops in the traditional off-season makes nutrient-rich food consistently available to consumers and raises the income of farmers. This project is co-funded and led by the World Vegetable Center in collaboration with EWS-KT, Lao PDR Department of Agriculture, and iDE.