Working with project partner Khmer Community Development (KCD), Quaker Service Australia (QSA) has supported the subsistence farming community of Prek Chrey in southeast Cambodia over the past ten years with permaculture training and livelihood initiatives. New techniques have improved the quantity and quality of produce, improved nutrition, reduced the need for chemicals, and resulted in surpluses.
With no market in the immediate area to sell surplus produce, the community created their own, establishing a small but successful organic vegetable cooperative shop in 2018 with support from QSA and KCD. Strong demand has since developed among the locals, who now have a greater awareness of the benefits of organic farming and produce. Also, using social media, vegetables are sold as far away as Phnom Penh city, over 60 kilometers (about 37 miles) away.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the co-op was severely impacted. With border closures and a general economic downturn, many in the community suffered a severe income reduction and the initiative was under financial threat.
With support from QSA, KCD supplemented staff wages to continue running the shop, enabling the initiative to survive the pandemic and continue supporting a network of approximately 35 local farmers and their families in Prek Chrey. The community also utilizes training provided by KCD to manage its own cow bank, rice bank, and micro and credit facility.
Learn more: Quaker Service Australia