Location: Chambok He Village, Siem Reap Province
Summary: After getting involved with Banteay Srei’s Climate Change Project, Yoeb Theary used the techniques she had learnt with her own crop production, therefore drastically improving her family’s income and relationship.
Unfortunately, Theary’s family history is tainted with abuse, as her husband has frequently had anger outbursts and used violence towards her and their children.
However, in 2011, Theary became involved with the Banteay Srei Climate Change Project. This pilot scheme was introduced to a group of 20 farmers who were taught new agriculture techniques that are resilient to the drought often occurring in the province. The participants plant corn, beans, bitter melon, cucumbers along with receiving training that bridges theory with practice. They also receive training on making compost, setting up and utilizing drip and drop irrigation, making natural pesticide as well as learning crucial information about the water cycle.
After learning together on a demonstration farm, Theary started to apply these plantation techniques into her own 300 square kilometer plot of land, with support from Banteay Srei that included the provision of a drip and drop irrigation system and seedlings to get her new project started. As part of the Banteay Srei scheme, farmers were also encouraged to visit a mushroom plantation in Prey Veng province. After returning from the visit, which aimed to teach and encourage further crop production, Theary was inspired to grow mushrooms herself, and discussed this option with her husband. The family decided to expand their crop production and Theary can now get a daily income of between 40000 Riels and 50000 Riels by selling her mushroom crop. After seeing this positive result, Theary decided to continue to expand her plantation and even experiment with different growing techniques based on her knowledge learnt in the Banteay Srei programme.
Theary explains how the Climate Change Project has also had a positive effect on her personal relationships. She explains that her husband contributes positively to the business, helping with physical labour duties involved in running the plantation. Owing to the extra income, there is less financial pressure on the family, they are no longer in debt, they have security in continuous occupation and they are able to provide nutritious food for the family as well as sending their children to school. The overall health of the family has improved owing to their access to fresh and chemical-free vegetables. Theary says that her husband is no longer violent towards her and their children, attributing this to their successful business that has brought the family closer together.
Theary’s plan for the future is to share her knowledge and experiences with other community members, as well as continuing to expand her business in growing mushrooms, vegetables and rising chickens. She has a strong commitment to support her children in education in the hope they can study at university with the profits she has raised.