Some farmers in Siem Reap province have introduced drip and sprinkler irrigation techniques to save fertiliser and water and to produce good quality crops and products healthy for consumers.
Villagers said the systems are applied to fruit and vegetable farming. The two systems are the drip and sprinkler techniques, introduced by an agricultural expert team.
Huot Loem, 56, farmer in Svay Chek village of Angkor Thom district’s Svay Chek commune, said growing crops with traditional techniques could not improve his family’s livelihood. This is because his farmland is small and there are water shortages in the dry season.
“At the moment, my family is practicing the drip system on the roots of fruit and vegetables, including papaya, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, rice, eggplant and tomatoes.
“For leafy and tuberous vegetables such as cabbage, radish, beets and ginger, I use the sprinkler system to irrigate their stems and leaves,” he said.
Loem said implementing these two systems has enabled his family to produce crops in all seasons with his 500sqm farmland. This could support his family’s livelihoods, especially at a time when Cambodia is facing the Covid-19 crisis.
Srey Phorn, a 62-year-old farmer in Chi Kreng village of Chi Kraeng district’s Chi Kraeng commune, said adopting the systems required a lot of capital that is beyong the reach of poor farmers like himself.
“I don’t have enough money to buy the equipment for irrigation. But I see my neighbours are using these new techniques. They could get good quality and quantity and also sell at a higher price. It’s because the vegetables are safe and pesticides aren’t used,” he said.
Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Tea Kim Soth acknowledged that the cultivation of fruit and vegetables using these systems is costly and poor farmers cannot afford them.
He said irrigation using the drip and sprinkler systems require specialised equipment including ground-water pumps and irrigation pumps. Big pipes and small pipes also need to be installed underground around the plants.
Farmers also have to dig a pump well and a small pond nearby. Some crops need to use plastic covering to retain moisture and prevent vegetables’ roots from spoiling.
“In order to provide the best products to consumers, farmers should choose the appropriate irrigation method and avoid using pesticides,” he said, adding that farmers who want to expand their knowledge of modern farming techniques are encouraged to contact his department for assistance.