A livelihoods study of farmers and fishers in Trorbek Pork Village, Kandal Province, Cambodia

This is the report of a livelihoods study team working together with villagers from Trorbek Pork in Kandal Province, Cambodia. The livelihoods study is based on the current population census (1998) and key informant interviews: 10 to 70 villagers (50% women) representing the 140 families of Trorbek Pork Village, Kampong Kong Commune, Koh Thom District, Kandal Province.

In Trorbek Pork, there are 140 families and a total population of 700 persons (378 women). In terms of levels of wealth, the population was classified as: 29% - very poor, 36% - poor, 34% - fair, and less than 1% - fairly rich. The primary occupation of villagers was farming dry season rice on 47 ha, and in addition cultivating vegetables such as corn, mung bean, wax gourd, chilli and sesame on 15 ha. Secondary occupations were fishing, working in a garment factory, singing, laboring and repairing machines. Villagers also earn income from selling rice, fish and firewood.

The main infrastructure and resources available in the village are two rural roads, two bridges (one damaged), 15 wells, three rivers, ten canals and two ponds.

Traditionally people help each other, especially on special occasions such as weddings and village ceremonies. Villagers also exchange labor during the dry rice season. In addition, the people of Trorbek Pork have formed a committee raising money to repair the bridge.

There is a growing concern with the increasing population, the reduction of soil quality due to increased use of inorganic fertilizer, and the fact that the canals have become shallow and villagers are unable to fix them. In addition, this village floods every year, which seriously affects both the village infrastructure and agricultural produce. Lack of communication with outsiders currently constrains access to health care centers, getting a good price for their agricultural produce and getting low interest rates on loans. As a result, more and more villagers are becoming poorer.

Three main institutions have an impact on the livelihoods of the people of Trorbek Pork: Government institutions, civil society and business. Due to the increase in rates of poverty, very poor and poor families have no choice but to borrow money from ACLEDA (Association of Cambodian Local Economic Development Agencies) by mortgaging their land and homesteads, which villagers sometimes lose as they cannot repay the debt.

Families ranked as very poor, poor and fair highlighted 18 issues, of which three issues were prioritized and formed into action plans. The plans include restoring the canals, constructing a bridge across a canal, and creating inorganic fertilizer credit. These three action plans may need intervention from outsiders to make them work.

This publication is also available in Khmer.


Publisher: NACA / CFDO / SCALE

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution.


Technical publications

NACA publishes technical papers and manuals for a wide variety of farming systems and related environmental and social issues. Many of these provide guidance on better management practices with a view to improving crop outcomes and on-farm resource utilisation efficiency. By using inputs such as feed and power more efficiently, farmers can simultaneously improve their profitability and environmental performance.