Organization: Agriculture and Technology Services Association (ATSA)
Thailand partner since: 2000
Indonesia partner since: 2000
In-country Director: Ngo Tien Dung
In 2007, The Field Alliance initiated a partnership with Cambodia in cooperation with Agriculture and Technology Services Association under the direction of Sodavy Pan. Serving as the primary contact for this program since the beginning, Ms. Pan has worked closely with TFA for the past eight years to identify recurrent and newly emerging environmental and agricultural concerns within Cambodia.
For Cambodia, deforestation and land degradation have been identified as the most pressing environmental issues as the country continues to develop in an industrial capacity. In order to compensate for diminishing land and unraveling ecosystems, farmers are using more and more pesticides in order to render the highest yield possible and sustain themselves financially. This overuse of pesticides not only poses a great threat to public health but also to the ecosystem at large, paving the way for future problems such as pest mutations, plant or animal extinction, water pollution, and decreased biodiversity among others issues. Cambodia’s extreme rain patterns also present farmers with a great challenge: dealing with floods one season and drought the next.
These issues are compounded by the fact that many Cambodian citizens lack access to basic education or vocational training without which they are forced to make temporary and often destructive decisions. With the support of TFA, since 2007, thousands of present and future farmers have been trained using the REAL Education model. These individuals have been educated on the dangers of pesticides and their impact on the environment, the benefits of organic farming, the importance of crop diversity and composting, as well as being taught practical income management methods using sustainable and self-sufficient business models.
Focus on: gender
Due to the fact that the majority of farmers in Cambodia are women, over the past year TFA has focused on identifying and signifying gender roles in agriculture. Ms. Pan has worked to develop programs to educate women on the risks of pesticide exposure and taught women how to produce liquid compost and botanical pesticide for use in the vegetable fields. Action plans for female farmers relating to income management and urgent health care have also been created throughout Cambodia.