Sim Som Oun (FBA 1)

August 19

Hi! My name is Sim Som Oun and this is my wife, Sok Reth. We have 8 children -- 6 sons and 2 daughters. Six of them have moved to Phnom Penh City. They have jobs there. We live with 2 sons. Toeur is 15 and is in seventh grade at Japan school. Sompov is 12 and in fourth grade at Ta Ngak Primary school in Ta Ngak Village.

From very early in the morning around 4 am, we have to get up because my wife has to make Ban Chhiev (yellow cake) ready for sales. Generally we finish before 8a m. As an FBA, I often visit my clients to follow up with their growing activities and to sell seeds and fertilizer (white bags). While I am away to visit my clients, my wife helps me sells them at home.

(See stories of Sim Som Oun's clients, Bei Phean and Chhoem Yean)

Ooh! Ooh! I am just trying to help my wife grind rice into flour for her yellow cake.  Usually my son, Toeur, does it, but now he’s in the field to catch fish and birds. I will have to leave it for my son when he’s back from the field. I can’t do it!

And this is my vegetable garden where I grow all kinds of Sponge Gourd and mints and tree fruits --mango, banana and jack fruit. I used to have long bean, bitter gourd, and cucumber here. Also, I have a fish pond with about 200 cat fish remaining. We can eat some and sell some to the market.

80 packages of seeds were sold to an Agriculture District, and I was asked to do a one-day- training to share experiences with 40 farmers this month.

There are 11 villages in my commune, but 2 never been visited yet. Pshooo! As an old man it is not easy to travel much. I had stopped being an FBA but decided to work again because I could see that from my clients’ lack of experience, they would need me.

Having talked with them, I learned that clients in 5 villages –Trapaing Chhouk, Prey Pdao, Srash, Krosa Chet and Ta Ngak -- don’t have enough water, especially in the dry season. Their pumps are broken or not working properly and they can’t afford ones. It would be useful for their vegetable garden as well as their rice field if they have pumps.

(See the story of Khut Khoeun, a client of Sim Som Oun)

All right! Here is my demo rice field where I apply new techniques to prove to the farmers that fertilizer works when they compare these ones with the ones behind me. One of the farmers bought some bags of fertilizers from me after they saw this. I think later on or next growing season, I will be able to sell more fertilizer.

Being an FBA, I can help or improve not only my living standard but also the living standards for villagers around. So I will have to go on with this work then.

January 11

I am doing accounts and thinking about whether to order some more FDP briquettes. At the moment, the price is going up. I may need to put off an order for a while because it’s a challenge to find new customers.

I wish prices of FDPs as well as seeds would decrease.

May 14

I have sold a few packages of seeds to Mr Phean, one of my clients, who is a very commited and hardworking person and whose vegetables are growing constantly both in the dry and wet seasons. I am going to visit him now.

Here I am at Mr Phean’s garden looking at his eggplants. Oh, some leaves are damaged by pests or insects. Oh, hang on! I must find out what happened!

FBA: Hello. Mr Phean. How are you and your vegetables?
Mr Phean: I’m fine. Vegetables…yeah! Eggplants are growing and a few of them were picked up and sold.
FBA: It sounds good! I think you’ll be able to harvest more in 7 – 10 days’ time.
Mr Phean: I do think so.

FBA: Hello. Mr Phean. Please come and take a look?
Mr Phean: What’s wrong?
FBA: Can you see some leaves are being damaged by pests or insects?
Mr Phean: I see. I’ll spray later using pesticide I made from few kinds of trees by myself.
FBA: Oh. I hope you can get rid of these.
Mr Phean: I hope too.