Supplies of organic vegetables in Prey Veng province have declined as growers have faced challenges due to market closures during the Covid-19 pandemic and falling prices.
The provincial director of the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ouk Samnang, said that a safe and organic vegetable community named “Tuol Trapaing Sros Bomprong” was established in 2020 in Kok Konglech commune of Kanh Chriech District to bring together 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 farming families in an area with the potential to grow and supply healthy, organic vegetables for the Prey Veng market and to be distributed to other provinces.
Samnang said that before the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers in the community could provide 12 to 15 tons of vegetables per day by selling the produce in Phnom Penh and Tbong Khmum province. But after the outbreak, supplies were cut off as some markets closed and prices for vegetables fell.
Currently, farmers can only supply five to six tonnes of vegetables per day even though the Community price is much lower than the market price. Climate change is another problem for producers.
Let Ath, head of the Tuol Trapaing community, told The Post that farmers have produced much lower yields this year due to climate change and current demand is low due to the small market.
âWhen a market is affected by Covid-19, demand is lost for a while because traders have to quarantine themselves and the market is closed,â he said.
Ho Chanthou, a 42-year-old community member, said that since joining the community, no market has bought his vegetables. During the pandemic, farmers encountered difficulties and brokers lowered the price of vegetables.
âIf we have a clear market price, for example a kilo 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 afraid. But in fact now we are using the price which was arbitrarily set by the traders, âhe said.
Nonetheless, Mol Met, a 52-year-old deputy community leader, expressed satisfaction with establishing the community as it was better than before to find markets.
Seav Kuoy Yi