The villagers of Prey Tomnoub traditionally produce rice, other vegetables and raise animals. Their land is relatively productive but their imcomes are low due to lack of accessibility to markets and poor product quality.
Transport to the nearest market in order to sell their products is too expensive and agricultural techniques are basic and inputs low quality - in the dry season, nutrient-rich food is rare.
The Cooperative was formed with help from NAS. It started with the fomation of self help groups who saved cash and converted the savings in order to become a Cooperative.
93 initial members converted to 229 shareholders. Shares were sold at 20,000 Riels ($5) per share and a total of 4,580,000 Riels ($1145) was made.
Thanks to the motivation of the cooperative members, two rice banks were built, where rice is stored and shared when families have difficult times.
A Community Market has also been started. Here villagers can trade agricultural imputs and food supplies.
Mrs. Ngann Sreang has been recently elected as President of the new Prey Tomnoub Rong Roeung Cooperative. She said “Since we now have food in storage for the lean months, our members’ living conditions have significantly improved. Before, we had to borrow rice and cash from lenders, at high interest rates but now we share with each other, at low rates of interest, and this allows us to become free from debt.
We all have incomes and food security for a full year without the worries we had before. All of our members are very much involved in the business development activities and families are able to send their children to school instead of having them work in the fields. Some children can not even go away to study further education"
The positive outcomes have been three-fold.
Farmers and producers are now directly linked to markets
The community is strengthened socially
The people are more independant and empowered and their way of life is more sustainable.