Getting Well In Cambodia
Like a bean plant in dry, barren soil, families forced to spend all their resources on survival cannot grow. This is the case along the Cambodia-Vietnam border, where many rural Cambodians spend much of their money on the most essential resource: water.
Take, for example, Mrs. Kong Ya, a Cambodian farmer in the Svay Rieng region who, like many mothers, wanted her family to eat their vegetables. More specifically, she wanted them to eat vegetables from her family garden. Unfortunately, water access in Svay Rieng becomes difficult during the dry season, forcing residents to purchase clean water. Unable to afford the water to grow produce, Kong had to buy expensive, pesticide-laden vegetables from Vietnamese farmers. MORE>
News: BGR and Amazon Smile Program
Buddhist Global Relief is now participating in the Smile program on Amazon.com! By going to the AmazonSmile website the shopper will find exactly the same products and prices as on the regular Amazon website, but 0.5% of each purchase will be donated to the charity of their choice. When you login to shop at the Smile site, you will be prompted to select a charity from a preset list, or search for another charity… MORE>
Intensified Rice Cultivation in Haiti
Haiti is one of the poorest and most food insecure countries on earth. It is exposed to natural disasters — especially hurricanes and flooding — and suffers from a legacy of neglect, exploitation, and marginalization. The country’s plight was made even more severe by a powerful earthquake that struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010. The quake demolished homes, ripped apart families, and left much of the population in utter destitution. Rural Haiti, home to the majority of the country’s population, is even more impoverished. Nearly 90% of rural Haitians subsist on $2 a day, and two-thirds on $1 a day.MORE>
Case Story 1 – Dieulita Robert
Dieulita Robert is a 42 year-old woman from Payen, a commune of Verrettes in Haiti. Dieulita is the mother of 5 children. She has also been a widow for 8 years and is solely responsible for the well-being of her children. For 10 years she has been a member of MAFLPV, an all-women farmer’s organization in the rice-growing Artibonite Valley. MAFLPV is one of the local partner organizations supported under Oxfam America’s Promotion of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Haiti project, which is supported by Buddhist Global Relief.
When asked to describe the importance of the project, Dieulita says that the project means everything to her. Before, in order to plant her rice crops, she had to borrow money from a cooperative at a very high rate. Now, she can access a credit service that allows her to pay just half of the money invested during the growing season, with the remainder of the balance due following the harvest. The skills and the technical support Dieulita has received from Oxfam in SRI reduce production costs and increase yields, which provide her with a higher income and enable her to better respond to the needs of her children.
Of Dieulita’s five children, only three were able to attend school during the month of October. Now, with the extra income she received from the harvest, she is planning to have her other two children return to school in January 2014.
Dieulita further explained that before Oxfam introduced SRI, she would spend exorbitant amounts on seeds and fertilizers. At first she refused to believe that by using less of both, she could actually produce more rice. When using traditional rice cultivation techniques system she needed 50 pounds of seed to sow her plot of about a quarter-hectare of land. Now with SRI, she is able to sow the same plot with just 4 pounds of seed. Some of the Oxfam-supported farmers achieved yields of 8 tons per hectare this past season using SRI; nearly four times the yields achieved under traditional cultivation.
Having now seen the benefits of SRI, Dieulita is convinced that it is preferable to traditional rice cultivation methods. She asks that Oxfam continue assisting other farmers by popularizing SRI in her community and throughout the country.
Case Story 2 – Cantave Francois
Cantave Francois, age 46, is a member of AILA, a local irrigation users association, and a small-scale rice farmer who depends entirely on his crops for his livelihood. A native of Payen, Cantave is a beneficiary of Oxfam’s Promotion of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) in Haitiproject, in which Buddhist Global Relief is a partner. As head of the family, Cantave is the father of six children and is responsible of the well-being of all of them, including his wife. As he works in his field, planting, tending to, and harvesting his crops, his wife is responsible for selling the products in the market and caring for their children.
According to Cantave, before the arrival of Oxfam America to the Artibonite Valley he practiced agriculture to help feed his family but it was not a viable full-time livelihood. High production costs, coupled with a lack of available affordable credit, was crippling farmers, and when credit was available the exorbitantly high interest rates completely eliminated any profit potential. Throughout the Valley, many farmers like Cantave struggled just to feed their families.
He says that with Oxfam America’s arrival to the Artibonite Valley through its rice and agricultural diversification program, his life condition improved in ways he never imagined. SRI allows him to spend less and produce more rice, a great benefit. Cantave wants to encourage other growers to apply the new SRI technique to their fields. He invites them to be part of an organization of growers that allows them to benefit from services related to rice production.
(Report courtesy of Oxfam America)