Organic veggie farms in Prey Veng hit by smaller market, price decrease

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
An organic vegetable farm located in a community in Prey Veng province’s Kanh Chriech district. INFORMATION MINISTRY

Supplies of organic vegetables in Prey Veng province have decreased as growers have had to confront challenges due to markets shutting down during the Covid-19 pandemic and a price decrease.

Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Ouk Samnang said a safe and organic vegetable community named “Tuol Trapaing Sros Bomprong” was established in 2020 in Kanh Chriech district’s Kok Konglech commune to gather farmers to grow organic vegetables and support the market. The scale of production is also much larger than the family level.

The community has 63 families farming in an area with the potential to grow and supply safe and organic vegetables for the market in Prey Veng and further distribution to other provinces.

Samnang said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers in the community could supply 12 to 15 tonnes of vegetables a day by selling the products to Phnom Penh and Tbong Khmum province. But after the outbreak, supplies were disrupted as some markets had closed their doors and vegetable prices had fallen.

Currently, farmers can only supply five to six tonnes of vegetables a day even though the community price is much lower than the market price. Climate change is another problem for growers.

Let Ath, head of the Tuol Trapaing community, told The Post that farmers produced much lower yields this year because of climate change and that current demand was low due to the small market.

“When a market is affected by Covid-19, demand is lost for a while because traders have to quarantine and the market is closed,” he said.

Ho Chanthou, a 42-year-old member of the community, said that since he joined the community, no markets have bought his vegetables. During the pandemic, farmers faced difficulties and brokers had lowered the price of vegetables.

“If we have a clear market price, for example a kilogramme of mustard green costs 1,500 riel [$0.38] and salads cost 2,000 riel per kg, the price should be stable and the farmers would not be so scared. But actually now we use the price that was set arbitrarily by traders,” he said.

Nevertheless, Mol Met, a 52-year-old deputy head of the community, expressed his satisfaction with the establishment of the community as it was better than before in finding markets.

Seav Kuoy Yi