By Sarah Saunders, CARE Australia
Like many people in the remote villages of North East Cambodia, Seab Rik feared she would not have enough food for her and her family to eat each day. Seab, 55, lives with her husband and two youngest sons. For many years their main source of food and income was from rice farming – which was unreliable and insufficient.
CARE partnered with Seab’s village to help improve their livelihoods. She joined her community in building and digging a new fish pond to provide fish to eat and to sell at the market.
Seab says proudly, ‘I put in 400 fish. I cannot count [how many we have] now because the fish have bred.’
CARE supported Seab’s family in constructing the pond, supplying the initial fish and providing guidance on pond maintenance and advice on how to make fish feed. The fish stocks are growing, Seab says. ‘This kind of fish becomes really big, really quickly. It grows so fast.’
The fish provide a secure source of food for the family. They also provide important variety in the family’s diet, plus Seab thinks they are delicious.
With the money saved from not having to buy food, she can afford to keep sending her children to school. Seab and her husband will also be able to use the extra money they make to save and plan for the future.
In addition, CARE provided Seab and her husband with training on crop production and rice farming techniques. Seab’s husband, Bun Chun Orn, says their crop output has increased immensely. CARE suggested he trial the new technique, ‘When we plant in the new location as per the technique we get 25 kilograms, whereas before we would only get 15 kilograms.’ This 10-kilogram increase makes all the difference for their diet and the bottom line.
Increasing the output of their rice crops has helped everyone in the community, Bun Chun says. ‘It is so meaningful for the people in the village because before most of them didn’t have enough rice to eat and some also have debts, having borrowed rice from each other. And now, after mastering the technique from CARE, they have enough rice to eat.’
Together, husband and wife work in partnership to improve their lives and seek a brighter future for their children. ‘We are happy to work with each other, we never have problems,’ says Bun Chun.