On 12th, September 2019 we went to a village in Saang district located in Kandal province. It’s a village where most people depend on farming. It’s one of the main vegetable importers in Phnom Penh city. Surprisingly all the vegetable imports from Saang are all using chemicals. Therefore, we want to interview the farmers about their perspective on using the chemical as well as the strategy of growing vegetables. We expect to really understand deeply about their perspective on using chemicals. Furthermore, we also prepared lists of questions to ensure that we on the spot of our expectations.
After we interviewed 26 farmers, we found that almost all farmers use chemical fertilizers and there are many reasons behind that. However, the most common two that I heard from most farmers are because it helps their plant to grow faster, it helps them to find money faster to support their living standard as well as they’re very convenient to use. The other one is about market demand which most customers are looking for strong and fresh vegetables. They don’t prefer vegetables with insects or leaves scorching. Thus, they have to satisfy the customers in order to find the suitable money for their family. In addition, I also heard some farmers said that if they don’t use chemical it will affect the hold gardens because when other farms use chemicals all the pests and insects will come to ruin their farms and plants that’s why they have to use the chemical in order to protect their farm. One interesting highlight is when I interview farmers I observed that at each of the farmer’s houses have small garden behind their house which they grow variety of plants. As I interviewed, all those small garden grows organically which for the consumption of their family. This really caught me that they never eat the vegetables from the farms. Another interesting highlight is I usually heard about a rumor that said there are the chemicals that could turn the small vegetable into a big and fresh vegetable for only one night and that rumor is actually true. It surprise me because I never think it would become true.
As a change agent of Cambodia, this is one of the most unforgettable experiences and memories that I had. It is really important to really understand deeply about people’s minds and feelings just like a quote says “put yourself in other people’s shoes.” This really show that family’s demand is really important which people even kill their own citizen just to support the living but do those farmers really want to do it? No, but they have no choice. It the only options they can do. As a younger generation, it is an big condition that I need to really consider and to make the real action. Although, I anticipate that in the future this would become a better situation.