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Project Alba speaks to one of our partner farmers to find out how life has changed since she started working with our social enterprise.

In Cambodia, a country of just over 16 million people, around 8.1 million people are near poor which means they are living only marginally above the poverty line. The majority of the population live in rural areas and make a living from agriculture. Without the right support and investment into the industry some farmers are left unable to make enough money to support the family and have to make difficult choices to provide income. One such woman is Nem a farmer with whom we now work in Takeo.

Nem and her family were not making sufficient money in the rural area of Takeo and so she had to make the decision to move aware from her family, including two young children to get factory work near the city. Whilst there are initiatives in place to try to improve the conditions of factory workers in Cambodia - who are mostly women – the conditions are still known to be incredibly challenging and workers are repaid with long hours and low income.

When we spoke to Nem she told us: “It was difficult in the factory. I did not earn much money. Our manager shouted at us and blamed me for not working fast enough.” Nem was unhappy in the factory and being away from her family. She was earning around $150 per month.

Since hearing about Project Alba and agreeing to partner with us she is now at home with her family working on the farm for 6 hours a day. Thanks to receiving training, input and support from the team the family are now growing a variety of vegetables on their land, in addition to growing rice. Our model means that we buy all of the vegetables from the farm at a pre-agreed price, which benefits the farmers and helps to provide a regular income. Since working with us Nem’s monthly income has increased by more than 60%.

She told us; “My life is much better now than when I had to work as a garment worker in the factories. I have more time to spend with my family, my children. I am happy to be able to live at home.

“I am able to save some money and make sure the children have enough too. I buy more food and I can pay if we are sick and need to go to hospital”.

On average farmers who work in partnership with Project Alba more than double their income which has positive impact on their economic security.

Find out more about how we work.

Michelle Lowery, 26th May 2017