The second phase of the CHAIN (Cambodia Horticulture Advancing Income and Nutrition) project was officially launched during a national workshop that took place in Phnom Penh on 1 February 2018, in the presence of His Excellency State Secretary Dr. Ty Sokhun from the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries MAFF. The event was attended by over 100 representatives from public, private sector, project partners and other development partners. CHAIN-II (2017 - 2020) is implemented by Swisscontact together with SNV, acting as lead implementer. The project is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Speakers at the event lauded the good results of the first phase of the project. “The CHAIN project uses a holistic approach that reaches out to diverse target groups. We need a project which is smarter, more efficient and more resilient, and CHAIN is that project we need” H.E. Dr. Ty Sokhun stated. H.E. Nhem Morokot, Under State Secretary from the Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA), expressed her gratitude to the CHAIN project partners for their willingness to cooperate with her ministry, supporting the rural poor and promoting gender equality and equity on all levels. “CHAIN-I achieved remarkable results”.
The honourable guests also mentioned their expectations that the second phase of the project will emphasise creating systemic changes in markets, and supporting women smallholder farmers. “We are optimistic that CHAIN-II will be a good model for the Royal Government of Cambodia and other development projects.” mentioned SDC Director of Cooperation, Development Councillor Ms Carin Salerno. H.E. Dr. Ty Sokhun agreed that the CHAIN project is a great model of PPP collaboration for the benefit of small holder farmers.
The event included a market place with vegetables from the project's target provinces (Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey), and stalls from private sector partners, such as Bio Control Agency. The honourable guests were invited to go shopping for vegetables, filling up their basket with the vegetables they preferred.
Afterwards, during a discussion that included farmers, input suppliers, and traders from the provinces, participants highlighted the changes in their business and farms, since being involved with the project. Ms. Yan Sopheak, a farmer from Kratie province, for example now uses less pesticides and grows safe vegetables. Ms. Sopheak expressed that both her technical skills and production had changed significantly after engaging with the CHAIN project. Before, she grew fruits and vegetables for her family’s consumption on a small plot of land. Now, she has expanded her plot to 5,000 square meters and she has a greenhouse installed to grow vegetables. Likewise, Mr. Yan Seap, from Oddar Meanchey province, mentioned that CHAIN had built his technical, business negotiations, packaging and post-harvesting skills. He now uses modern production technologies, including drip irrigation system, net housing, mulching and is able to choose good quality seeds. This January he earned $USD2,000 from selling cucumbers. “I didn’t want to come to here because I’m too busy with my farm, however I also wanted to share my story to inspire others”.