The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) is a non-profit organization, which supports several FairTSA Fair Trade certified Cambodian cooperatives that farm rice in the provinces of Takeo, Kampong Chhnang, and Kampong Speu. Rice farmers make up about 60 percent of Cambodia’s population. Many rice farmers are living in poverty due to their small land holdings and low production efficiency, relying on costly external inputs such as improved rice varieties, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides. CEDAC has been fostering the education and organization of rural farmers in sustainable agriculture for over 15 years, emphasizing viable practices and the utilization of resources which they either already have access to or can create themselves.
Our Fair Trade certified Cambodian rice farming cooperative CEDAC has continued their work educating farmers and planning community infrastructure projects for their 2017 Community Development. The Cambodia Organic Rice Producer Association with CEDAC organized two general meetings in August 2016 and January 2017 to make further decisions on the Community Development plan. This meeting took place at the central organic rice mill cooperative, a previous Community Development construction project. The first meeting’s topics included plans for improvements to the cooperative’s organic rice production system, and what further investments in the central organic mill cooperative would be most beneficial. In the second meeting, the democratically selected group of rice farmers presented on the current investment and projects at the rice mill, and prepared the new Community Development Plan for year 2017. This meeting also elected for new committee members.
Some great decisions were reached during these meetings. First, it was agreed that the purchasing of a forklift was a priority to aid worker’s labor. Additionally, it was agreed that installing a water pump at the community pond to help harvest rainwater for clean water for the whole community would be very helpful. Lastly, the construction of a worker house at the central rice mill was agreed upon. Reinforcing and expanding the support and education of their farmers in organic agriculture has always been a priority for CEDAC, and this year it is exciting to hear of them reaching out to assist promising young farmers in developing their commercial organic farm enterprises. Through intergenerational education, farmers young and old are brought together in strength through community. CEDAC’s support in the development of self-reliant villages through the integration of responsible, organic rice practices and through networks of these villages not only backs more gainful harvests but a more sustainable, connected network.