Working the Land Instead of for “The Man”
Mr. Touch’s life changed for the better – way better – when he asked himself a direct question: “What would happen if, instead of working 8-10 hours a day for someone else, I put in that same amount of time working for myself on my land, and could be with my family instead of so far away?”
He and his wife, Thy, had always farmed, using practices employed by the previous generations of his family. But, once all five of their children were in school, they couldn’t make ends meet, and three of them had to drop out. He spent six years in the capitol city of Phnom Penh as a construction worker, until COVID forced him back to his village again. Work in neighboring communities during this period affected his health so much that he realized it was time to take stock.
When local partner OREDA began promoting agricultural activities in his village, Mr. Touch decided to participate because of the clear focus on agriculture, which would allow him to be with his family. He learned well, enjoyed interacting with other farmers, and experimented along the way on his own land. He raised fish, chicken and vegetables for both food and income.
What caught his attention the most was raising fish, and he began to specialize in it. He has three ponds now that he stocks with several different types of fish and feeds them with what he grows. His results have been so encouraging that he’s in the process of creating new ponds to respond to the demands of his neighbors and nearby markets. He’s now sharing his experiences with other farmers in his network and hosts visitors who want to see how they might duplicate all that he’s accomplished.
Mr. Touch says he’s grateful for regular exchanges with other farmers keep him learning and earning. It’s important to him that his two youngest children can continue their studies in college and acquire whatever skills they want to make their own dreams come true.
Cambodia South Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partners OREDA and KADRA