The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC), is a non profit NGO dedicated to improving the lives of Cambodiaʼs rural farmers. They run agricultural seminars, organize infrastructure development programs, and help advocate politically for rural populations. Since 2011 FairTSA has worked with CEDAC on such programs, collaborating with them in support of FairTSA Fair Trade certified rice farmers in the provinces of Kampong Speu, Takeo, and Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia.
CEDAC and growing ricE with
the SRI method
Rice farmers make up nearly 60 % of Cambodiaʼs population yet many live in poverty due to their small land holdings and low production efficiency. To confront these challenges CEDAC hosts agricultural workshops in the System of Rice Intensification ̶ a method of rice production that increases yields through low water-input, pesticide free seedling management. Since adopting this method, the rice farmers we work with have experienced an astounding increase in yearly net income, sometimes up to 8 times what they would normally make growing rice using traditional methods. With these funds, rural food producers achieve self-sufficiency and can afford health care, school costs, and independent business ventures. Moreover SRI is helps preserve producersʼ resources, using up to 40% less water and eliminating the need for dangerous and costly agrochemical inputs.
FairTSA began working with CEDAC in 2011, starting with 200 small holding farmers. Since then, around 1,200 farmers have joined the organic farmers association. This substantial increase is due to the benefits of organic, SRI rice cultivation as well as FairTSAʼs yearly development projects and Fair Price premium which guarantees a standard payment, regardless of market price fluctuations.
*The number for 2017 is an estimate. The numbers shown are based on the inspection documents and relate to certified operations. They may differ from CEDADCʼs internal documents, as these often refer to the number of people involved or impacted. The 2017 number will be updated once the inspection due in January 2018 is completed
Below: Rice Producers in 2013 meet to discuss the annual Community Development Project, using communal decision-making processes to decide how to best leverage social premium funding. These meetings help promote gender equality and ensure that the Fair Trade premium funding is used most effectively. Once a proposal is chosen, we assess for feasibility then document project progression, working in tandem with a network of authorized inspectors and collaborating certifiers.
Community Development OverView 2013-2017
Working in 3 different provinces in Cambodia constitutes a considerable difficulty for project planning just on a logistical level, not to mention the different needs of the specific communities. Under these extenuating circumstances CEDAC and the Cambodian Organic Rice Producer Organization (the actual producer organization that produces the rice, organized and supported by CEDAC) has done an extraordinary job at project planning and joint decision-making. Each year, rice producers from the three provinces meet and decide using inclusive, democratic decision making to decide how to best allocate social premiums funding (money supplied by the buyers of FairTSA licensed products).
2013: agricultural education for growers
In 2013, three proposals for Takeo, Kampong Speu, and Kampong Chhnang provinces were
prepared, with a total budget of $9,665.
Takeo Project: Budget $7,169
Investment in the community rice mill project
Training sessions for facilitators/leaders
Support and training activities for sustainable agricultural growth through learning organic agricultural practices and FairTSA compliance
Right: Modern sanitation facility built for rice producers in Kampong Chhnang. Such facilities help prevent disease and are key in improving producer quality of life.
Kampong Speu Project: Budget $236
Organic rice producer conference in Tramkak.
Kampong Chhnang Projects: Budget $2,260
Organic rice producer conference, Samaki
Meanchay District; Construction of well
Construction of modern community toilet
Below: CEDAC founder Dr. Yang Said Koma leads workshop on organic rice business practices and cooperative rice mills.
2014: Seeds, leadership traning
In 2014, project planning for Takeo, Kampong and Chhnang provinces was carried out. Total budget was about $5,900.
Takeo Projects: Budget $2,750
Seed purification training for 96 farmers
Rice mill equipment; Supplying seed and organic fertilizer for neediest farmers
Office supplies for farmers to support them in proper record-keeping
Kampong Speu Projects: Budget $1533
Three leadership and management skills training courses
Investment in the rice mill
Kampong Chhnang Projects: Budget $1595
Three training courses in organic agriculture to improve agricultural practices and increase yield, 180 participants
Community toilet with access for 150 families
Below: Training course in seed purification and selection in Takeo Province.
2015: community vegetable co-op, biodynamic pond
Total budget: $10,064
Takeo Project: Construction of meeting room and office at the central organic rice mill
Kampong Speu Project: Construction of community store
Kampong Chhnang Project: Digging of community pond
Below: Community Store in Kampong Speu
2016: Community ponds, learning center
Total budget: $11,000
Construction of two large community ponds in Kampong Chhnang for harvesting rain water and use as clean drinking water
Construction of learning center in Chumpol, Takes Province
Left: Learning/Community Center in Chumpol for use in agricultural workshops and community meetings. These types of educational spaces foster self-empowerment and confidence among rural food producers.They also allow these communities to better utilize existing resources, thus counteracting dependence on industrial and chemical agricultural methodologies.
2017: Housing and machinery
Total budget: $11,000
Purchase of forklift for central organic rice mill
Installation of a water pump at the central community pond
Construction of worker housing at the central organic rice mill cooperative
A total of about $54,000 in premiums paid over 5 years does not sound especially impressive, but the truth of the matter is that the purchasing power of these dollars is at least 5 times or more than it would be in the US, with the exception of equipment purchases such as forklifts. Furthermore, CEDAC has been able to leverage the premiums received in an exemplary way, e.g. through training for improved agricultural practices and record-keeping, building of a community store where small farmers can sell their surplus goods, building of community and training centers, and the campaign to build an organic rice mill.
Below: Central cooperative mill in Takeo Province built with help from FairTSA Fair Trade premium funds
Fair Price Premium 2013-2017 in US-Dollars*
As the Fair Price Premium is calculated in Cambodian Riel and the currency exchange rate fluctuates, these numbers are not totally exact, but can fluctuate, typically 5%, sometimes more.