Boosting livelihood within Ibis Rice program with SMP

Mrs. Ann Pheap lives with her husband and their two children in Thalaborivat district in Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary Stung Treng. Mrs. Pheap owns farmland more than 2 hectares. Before joining the Ibis Rice program, the majority of farmers in Prey Lang practiced farming with the application of chemical fertilizers. Pheap said, “Ibis Rice members adhere to the main rule of no hunting and no deforestation while in the past people tend to make their income from taking benefit from the forest, illegally.”

Pheap joined as an Ibis Rice member with SMP since 2019 and she now has become one of the model farmers who had the best performance for three years in a row. Because of her commitment and great work, she was selected to be a rice seed producer for two years now. Pheap has produced great quality rice which can benefit people in the village as well as other Ibis Rice target areas. Pheap told, “Normally, the rice we produced only makes around 700R/kg (0.17$) while the wildlife-friendly rice (Ibis Rice) can be sold up to 70% over the market price. On top of that, I am delighted that my rice seed production generates a great income to almost 2000R/kg (0.50$). I am so grateful that I could earn more profit from my organic Phka Romduol wildlife-friendly rice; especially my quality seed production contributed to other farmers in the village and inspired others to follow the lead I have taken.”

Besides being recognized as a great rice producer, An Pheap took it to another level of growing beautiful healthy cover crops called cowpea and crotalaria juncea, which resulted in improving a lot of her farmland’s soil quality. She first started planting the cover crops in 2019 with the hope of helping increase the amount of paddy yield. After growing the cover crop on her farmland, her expectation did not let her down, her paddy yield increased to more than one tone on the same farmland size (Previously, she only received less than one tone of paddy). She continued, “Likewise, last year I harvested 10kg of cowpea seeds from my field, so I took them and planted in late December 2021 for a new cycle. It is now starting to grow and I will keep investing my energy into the cover crops to help my farming condition get better from year to year.” She continues, “I can’t believe the rice can also grow well without using chemical fertilizers, following the guidance of the SMP agronomist definitely worked and I am grateful for that.”

On top of rice farming, Mrs. Pheap also grows other vegetables (especially cassava) with her sister and raises some chickens and pigs at home. Pheap also encourages other farmers to consider registering as IBIS farmers. She smiled and explained, “I told my neighbor not to overlook what I am doing on my farm, we still grow rice anyway, why not put the whole effort into it. Let’s give it a try because what we will get back is making a good profit for our family. The price of the wildlife-friendly rice is increasing from time to time, trust me that won’t be the wrong decision to join us.”