Location: Cham Bok Hae village, Krolanh district, Siem Reap province
Summary: Demonstrating leadership and presentation skills, Banteay Srei beneficiary Touch Kimhouch shares her new farming techniques learnt from Banteay Srei’s climate change project at a national meeting on climate change in Phnom Penh.
52-year-old Kimhouch joined Banteay Srei’s climate change project in April 2012. “Before I received training, I did not use my land to grow anything as the soil was very dry,” Kimhouch explains. “After receiving training, I dug up the soil and mixed it with manure and began to plant my herb garden.”
You can smell the natural aromas emanating from Kimhouch’s garden from the main road, which boasts an impressive array of herbs and fruit including thai basil, coriander and mangosteen. “I don’t need to go to the market to sell my products, people come to me,” Kimhouch says proudly. “I have already sold over 100,000 riel worth of basil alone!” Local sellers of ‘ban chow’ (a traditional Khmer pancake served with fresh herbs) make up her regular customers, buying her organic herbs every morning before they go to the market.
In December 2012, Kimhouch together with 20 families taking part in Banteay Srei’s climate change project attended a one day training event in Takeo province. The training was led by a renowned organic farmer who learned his techniques while working on farms in Thailand before returning to his home country. “Mr Mao’s vegetable and herb garden was amazing. I now copy his technique of growing plants in cement bags to protect against floods,” says Kimhouch.
After encouragement from her local community facilitator, Kimhouch represented her community at the Joint Climate Change Initiative in Phnom Penh on January 23 2012, where she gave a presentation on the new farming techniques she has learned as part of the project. “My presentation was about how to make dry and liquid compost, how to prepare the soil, how to select better seeds and how to grow seeds in a nursery,” Kimhouch explains.
Posters from the event raising awareness about climate change are displayed on the wall of her small corrugated iron home. “It felt good to talk about the project in front of many people. I was not scared. People were very interested and paid attention to my presentation so I felt very good,” Kimhouch says. The presentation was very well received and some participants have already travelled from other provinces to see Kimhouch’s herb garden and to learn about the techniques she learned as part of Banteay Srei’s climate change project.