As reported in a recent article by the Cambodia Daily, nearly 70% of residents in Koh Kong province make their living by fishing, and yet there is agreement amongst community members and local conservation groups that fish stocks in the gulf of Thailand are dwindling, largely from overfishing.
Given this reality, it will be critical to both the people of Koh Kong and the health of the local fisheries that community members transition to alternative livelihoods to provide income.
Through the “Sustainable Livelihood Through Improving Ecosystem in Mangrove Area (SLIEMA)” project, MFF Small Grant Facility grantee Research and Human Resource Development (RHRD) is helping to reduce destructive logging practices and overfishing in the sanctuary by working with the local community to make farming livelihoods more lucrative and sustainable. In April 2016, RHRD organized a series of refresher trainings with the aim of providing solutions to the challenges facing the community with regard to vegetable and chicken farming practices.
Mr. Heng, for instance, used to make his living producing charcoal from mangrove trees and fishing local waters. With the help of RHRD, Mr. Heng has learned new techniques for growing vegetables, natural composting, and chicken farming. Since implementing the new farming techniques, he has seen his income increase dramatically, so much so that he no longer spends his time fishing and making charcoal.
“I will use the money to buy gasoline for the water pump so that I can grow more vegetables to support my family. I can also buy clothes and books for my niece who is going to school,” said Mr Heng.
Another Koh Kong community member Mrs. Sou Sareth has learned new techniques for de-worming and using a less expensive locally produced chicken feed. She has since seen her revenues from chicken farming soar from a mere 200,000 riel per year to nearly 6 million riel per year.
Similarly, with RHRD’s support, farm promoter Mr. Sam Chhun, has implemented new integrated farming techniques which include a drip irrigation system that reduces the need for water.
This project which ended in April 2016, has brought numerous benefits to local project beneficiaries in terms of diversifying their local livelihoods options and improving household income.
This article was contributed by MFF Cambodia’s National Coordinator, Vanny Lou.