In an exciting new development, Pailin provincial governor Ban Sreymom has unveiled an initiative to purchase agricultural products directly from smallholding farmers. The aim of this initiative is to not only boost local produce but also promote organic farming practices.
One of the primary motivations behind this plan is to address the lack of information available to smaller growers, which often leads to them selling their produce at below-market value. Recognising this struggle, Sreymom emphasised that the government’s intervention is intended to ensure fair prices for these farmers, without any intention of profiteering.
Additionally, this initiative seeks to reduce the province’s dependency on imported fruits and vegetables, which often contain harmful chemicals. Sreymom urged local cultivators to continue using natural fertilisers, thereby preserving the reputation of Pailin’s agricultural produce.
While the programme is currently focused on Pailin, Sreymom expressed her desire to extend it to neighbouring provinces if successful. This expansion would create more opportunities for smallholder farmers and contribute to the overall growth of local agriculture.
Support for this initiative has been forthcoming from various quarters. Bun Sieng, founder of the Natural Agriculture Village (NAV), an organic vegetable buyer, has lauded the programme, stating that it could address the issue of market access for farmers. Sieng believes that as long as the produce adheres to safety standards, finding buyers should not be a challenge. The support from the authorities is seen as a positive development for local farmers.
Yem Nary, the owner of a greenhouse garden that exclusively sells naturally-grown produce, shared her struggles with competing against cheaper imported products. Local products, despite being more expensive and sometimes less visually appealing, are important to Nary, who remains committed to supporting fellow local farms. She expressed her gratitude for any assistance in finding additional purchasers, particularly during harvest seasons to prevent oversupply.
With this new initiative, Pailin is taking a significant step towards boosting its agricultural sector and supporting smallholder farmers. It not only aims to provide fair prices for local produce, but also promotes organic farming practices and reduces the reliance on imported products. The positive response from farmers and experts in the field bodes well for the success of this programme. Hopefully, it will serve as a model for other provinces to follow in the future, leading to a more sustainable and prosperous agricultural industry throughout the region.