Poultry and Produce To Go!
Restrictions during COVID have prompted an innovation that makes the future look brighter for participating farmers: collective sales of produce.
This successful program involves 196 advanced farmers, more than half of whom are women, divided into nine groups of between 10 and 35 each. Seven Community Agriculture Business Advisors (CABAs) provide regular coaching and share market information with all the farmer groups. These groups supply chicken and duck meat to weekend markets, but restricted movement during the pandemic threatened their livelihoods as sales dropped by 90% in the early part of 2021.
During discussions among stakeholders including the communities, the CABAS, local partners OREDA and KADRA and World Renew, a couple of innovative suggestions led to creating a mobile shop and buying from/selling to middlemen.
By June, a small mobile shop that handled the vegetables, fish, chickens and ducks of 10 farmers was in business. Produce was collected daily, and one of the CABAs agreed to operate the shop in her community. The shop also provided key information to their customers to prevent the spread of the virus and distributed some necessary materials such as facemasks, soap and hand sanitizers. They reached an average of 40 consumers per week.
Collective buying and selling to middlemen also started in June, moving an average of 90 chickens and ducks from 56 farmers per week. These trading activities are still small, but they give hope and a clear message to farmers and community members about self-reliance and enduring difficult situations.
If these entrepreneurship activities can continue during this pandemic, the communities will seek ways to scale up in the long run, eventually establishing a central shop along the road or even in Phnom Penh. According to one of the farmers, “Besides producing, now we have learned to do buying and selling. We see the need of intervening in every step of the product value chain to build good profits. It requires high commitment and a clear goal. I think we will find our way.”
Led by World Renew and Local Partners OREDA and KADRA