Location: Kampong Chhnang village 1, Battambang province
Summary: Banteay Srei’s support for a mushroom growing business results in better income and improved livelihoods for seven families.
On a Monday morning in the back yard of her house, community facilitator Som Art, together with her team of five, are busy turning over a huge pile of ground corn husks and burned wood chips. This natural organic growth medium will later be mixed with spores, placed in individual plastic bags and put under cover for several weeks. The result of previous efforts can already be seen in a makeshift shed, with row upon row of mushrooms sprouting from individual containers.
This thriving mushroom farm is the result of the hard work and dedication of Kampong Chhnang One village’s community facilitators. In March 2012, 29 community facilitators from 6 villages attended a training held by Banteay Srei on mushroom growing in Battambang city. In addition, Banteay Srei provided them with the equipment and materials necessary to get their mushroom farms started.
What started off as a bag of corn husks and wood chip, is now a thriving local business with the mushrooms selling for 4500 Riel (just over $1) per kilo. “We not only sell the mushrooms, now we are able to sell the growth medium to other villagers so they too can grow their own mushrooms,” team leader Som Art says proudly.
Seven families currently benefit from this mushroom farm, splitting the profits between them. “The poorest families struggle, the price of rice is very low so they have very little income,” Som Art explains. Banteay Srei-supported income generation activities such as this mushroom farm help to provide a regular source of income for vulnerable families, and they are able to use the profits they make to invest in other village level development activities.