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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Safe Vegetable Production in Cambodia and Vietnam: Developing the HARE-Network to Enhance Farmer Income, Health, and the Local Environment

NetViet television news segment about this project, focused on safe vegetable production, research, and marketing in Vietnam, from April 2014.


In Cambodia, this project adapted the Savings for Change model used widely by Oxfam (with more than 100,000 savings group members in Cambodia) to use specifically with vegetable farmers. The project created 12 farmer savings groups in Cambodia, with average group savings of $1,317 in the first year.

Target Countres: Cambodia and Vietnam

Principal Investigator: Cary J. Trexler, University of California, Davis


Project description:

The rapid economic and population expansion of Cambodian and Vietnam within the greater Southeast Asian region presents opportunities for impacting the livelihood of many people, where horticulture remains an important undeveloped business sector supported by small farmers. Our goal is to empower small farmers (59% of whom are women) with integrated experiential education and training for sustainable vegetable production that limits postharvest losses, increases food safety, increases market access and, importantly, increases income. We have designed an innovative participatory approach to meet these goals by networking experts in horticulture production through marketing. The inclusiveness as stakeholders of farmers communes, regional universities, local governments and national communications companies in the network provides continuity needed for continuation of farmer outreach training and education beyond the lifetime of Horticulture CRSP funding. The successful completion of the project in Vietnam will serve as a model for implementation of the participatory action network in other, more challenging, countries like Cambodia and Laos with similar, but less developed, horticulture business sectors. Importantly, completion of this project will address essential capacity-building needs of Cambodia including an assessment of capabilities, research training, outreach development and promotion of communication between policy makers, universities and the agribusiness community. A direct impact from this project is that Cambodian and Vietnamese vegetable farmers will gain income.

One extension of this project will work with savings groups in Cambodia that will be trained in financial literacy and cell phone-related savings technology. The savings and lending groups will also be introduced to improved horticultural technologies investigated by Horticulture CRSP projects and provided with the opportunity to invest in these technologies. We will collect data on the demand and use of these technologies in rural farming systems. Those groups which are interested in saving for a new technology will be connected to Horticulture CRSP partners who are best able to deliver the technology and training. This model will enable information to flow in two directions, as farmers and savings groups gain access to “leapfrog technologies,” and Horticulture CRSP partners learn how rural farmers in Cambodia reinvent new technologies to accommodate on-the-ground realities. This project will also help determine which horticulture technologies are in demand among Cambodian farmers, and what specific conditions create demand for these technologies.

Project updates:

Related project:

A newer project focused on building safe vegetable value chains in Cambodia (led by Glenn Young) grew from this project's partnerships and findings.