Present situation: the farmers of Kakot have had none or very little education. In general men and women have to work in the field, earning together $ 3-4 per day. A group of villagers, together with the Chief and the social worker meet oncea month in the community centre to discuss how the village can developed.
From agriculture to vegetable growing: Farmers cannot use the land in an efficient, large scale way due to the way the land has been divided in the Social Land Concessions Plan. Farmers grow rice or cassava at a field of 2-3 hectares, products with little earnings. Also, there is no water available in the area (the Mekong river is 15 kilometres away) meaning that the farmers have only one harvest per year.
Why growing vegetables? Vegetables can be grown profitably on less ground than rice and cassava. Farmers can therefore work closer to their houses.
What is required? 1. Adaptation of the village destination plan to allow growing vegetables.
2. Design a water plan for the village which will guarantee enough and safe water for consumption and irrigation. Current water from the wells contains limestone (arsenicum).
Result: First of all, for own use, people in the village. Also, vegetables can be sold to restaurants and at the market in Kratie. Another advantage is that children do not have to join the parents in the rice fields, which means a reduction in absence at school. As the know-how of growing vegetables will be introduced in the village, home gardening will start. Growing vegetables will also be introduced at the school creating a vegetable garden.
Next steps? An adaptation of the village destination plan and a water plan are required. This process will cost time, and will not show results on a short notice. The Chief of Kakot has accepted this process. Progress will be published here in the coming months. We will investigate how know-how from Dutch universities can be used. For training and support in the transition to growing vegetables, we have approached (Dutch) organizations.
Suggestions are welcome.