Resilient Agriculture Techniques for Planting Bananas Open New Markets for Farmers
Standing in her farm holding bunches of healthy bananas, Nut Dany excitedly explains how resilient agriculture techniques have improved the productivity of her plants and offered her access to broader markets.
Mrs. Dany, 30 years old, and her husband live with their three children in Kokir Chrum Village in Russei Chrum Commune, Thmar Bang District in Koh Kong province. She is a an adoptive farmer of Save the Children’s Systems Approach to Transformative Economic Empowerment and Resilience (STEER) Activity, carried out in close cooperation with International Development Enterprises (iDE) and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF). This Activity was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) New Zealand in 2019.
The Activity provided a range of training to farmers and agricultural producers, building their technical skills to improve their productivity and developing market-oriented farming practices.
“I had earlier faced challenges producing 500 bunches of yellow and chicken egg banana (musa aromatica) because pests and diseases easily damaged these crops,” said Mrs. Dany.
Even though she tried to produce 500 bunches of bananas, only 200 units of bananas were harvested.
Before taking part in the STEER Activity, Mrs. Dany said she used to plant bananas, corn, durians, and other vegetables. However, without adequate techniques, pests and diseases regularly destroyed the plants.
“Those bananas were not good and were sold at only US$ 0.25 per unit. Sometimes, we couldn’t even sell them all,” she said. “Other problems were the lack of access to markets and information on prices.”
However, Mrs. Dany said that after receiving training from project staff, she started to renovate her banana plantation, set up an effective drip irrigation system, and constantly remove and destroy the plants' diseased parts. She began eliminating weeds and using fertilizer and agrochemicals to kill insects, control and prevent diseases, and ensure that the plants stay clean and healthy.
Within five months, Mrs. Dany said she witnessed terrific results. She could produce more than 400 units of healthy, fresh and sweet bananas on a smaller plot of land than she used to and sold at US$ 0.60 per unit. Interestingly, she was able to sell those bananas to local collectors under STEER and in markets in Phnom Penh and other provinces.
“I have no more concerns as the STEER Activity staff always inform me of market prices. Some sellers also come to buy my bananas directly and I sell them at reasonable prices.”
Dany’s husband, Sung Sopoah, a motorcycle mechanic, said that he was happy to see the positive changes in his wife’s farming with a smile on his face.
“In addition to my work, my children and I usually help my wife take care of the crops. We have put a lot of effort into keeping our farm healthy and green so that it will grow to its highest potential,” he said.
To generate more income and support her family and children’s education, Mrs. Dany hopes to plant yellow watermelon with technical support from the Activity.
“I wish to become a demonstration farmer for the STEER Activity. I want to share my experience and the smart approaches that I have learned from the Activity with other farmers so that they can plant healthy crops and offer enough supplies to the markets,” Mrs. Dany said.