80% of Cambodians work in rice paddies, yet earning a secure living from rice growing can be an impossible task for many smallholders, who barely grow enough to feed their own families. SNV is equiping rice farmers with expert knowledge and information to improve yields, and using tablet technology to do it.
"When there is not enough food to eat, I can't sleep. And the kids cry all day when I don't have anything to give them. Sometimes I cry too." says Mut Sukha, a rice farmer whose low yields mean she is struggling to feed her family, and does not have surplus rice to sell for extra income. SNV is working with Mut using tablet technology, to improve her knowledge and skills as a farmer so her household can be more food and nutrition secure.
Not what you normally expect to find in the average rice paddy, these smart tablets house eAgro software providing up to date information and guidance at the touch of button, helping farmers solve small problems that are encountered along the crop cycle. An initiative of IFAD & Grameen Intel Social Business, and implemented as part of PADEE - the Project for Agricultural Development and Economic Empowerment - this programme aims to equip rice farmers with all the farming knowledge they need to increase yields and access profitable markets.
From seed choices to soil testing, agricultural experts have helped to design the software so that farmers are guided step by step to the right solution for them. Local people have been trained in the software and work with smallholders, developing their own micro businesses as farming advisors.
Mut had never received any advice on rice growing and was surprised to learn through a quick soil test and data from the eAgro software that she was using far too much fertliser. The simple step of reducing the amount will benefit her crop and lower her expenses. The local advisors also work with rice farmers to negotiate bulk order discounts for seed and fertiliser to help reduce costs, and to connect them to rice buyers. The system is already in use in India where it has helped farmers to increase their yields by 300%.
With the potential to ensure a food secure future for rice farmers like Mut and her family, the software will soon be launched across 500 locations reaching over 25,000 farming families. This really is tech for good!