Farmers double income from sustainable cassava cultivation

IIRR worked closely with GIZ, the Regional Economic Development (RED III), and District Agriculture Office in training 1,123 cassava farmers in Oddar Meanchey Province on sustainable cassava cultivation. Around 60-70% of the farmers adopted the new skills they learned and they observed that their income from cassava doubled. Twenty-one farmers were selected to demonstrate the practices, conduct farm trials, and disseminate successful practices to other farmers in the community. They received technical advice and visits from IIRR trainers, DAO Officers, and GIZ Technical Advisors to increase their confidence in applying their learned techniques.

One of the demonstration farmers was Un Saren, 32. He has 5.1 hectares of land, where 2 hectares is allocated for cassava. He has been planting cassava for four years but had limited knowledge on how to sustainably cultivate it. He applied conventional ones that yielded only 15 to 20 tons of cassava per hectare that decreased in subsequent years.

After applying the sustainable practices in just 0.16 hectares of land, his yield increased to 30 to 32 tons per hectare and his income grew from KHR 650,000 to KHR 1,753,500 (USD162.5 to USD438). He used his cassava earnings to pay for his children’s education, purchase agriculture inputs and planting materials for the next planting season, and other daily expenses of his family. He is also sharing his experience and knowledge with 25 other farmers in his village.

Tuy Oun, 48, from Popel Village with his three family members, was another cassava farmer who joined the project. He showed interest in the cassava production process and registered to be a cassava demonstration farmer for his village. He allotted 0.24 hectares of his 0.5-hectare cassava plantation to apply the cassava production practices he learned from the training.

He shared, “I gained a lot of skills and improved my cassava growing techniques. What I have learned from the program (bed preparation, soil fertility improvement, healthy planting materials, fertilizer application, and weed control) are new to me. I was encouraged to shift from applying traditional practices to sustainable ones.”

After applying sustainable cassava cultivation practices, Tuy Oun’s income increased by 115%, from KHR 1,200,000 to KHR 2,585,800 (USD 300 to USD 646). He was able to produce 3.45 tons of dried cassava from the cultivated area of 0.24 ha, which is higher compared to his yields using conventional practices.

He used his income to invest for the next planting season, support his family’s expenses, and other investments.