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Are vegetables at an organic shop truly organic?

MAIN PHOTO10 November 2017

… A common question that many customers ask the organic supplier

It is a matter of quality, trust and satisfactory.

Ms. Chhounso Chenda, a sale manager at Khmer Organic Cooperative (KOC) in Phnom Penh says that customers deserve to know every detail about the products they consume.

At KOC when the customers come to the shop, one of the policies consists in having a shop assistant explaining about the vegetables and fruits displayed such their origins, how they are produced with clear expiry dates, according to Ms. Chenda.

In building trust and satisfaction, she further says the shop also provides services to bring customers upon their request on a “green tour” to explore the process of planting, cutting and packaging. The cost is partly shared between KOC and the customers. At the farm, the customer can test the vegetables directly.

Ms. Chhounso Chenda, a sale manager at the Khmer Organic Cooperative. Photo by: Reth Vicheka

Ms. Chhounso Chenda, a sale manager at the Khmer Organic Cooperative.
Photo by: Reth Vicheka

“Once the customers test our fresh vegetables, they will feel the difference between the organic and non-organic products and can decide if they would like to continue to support us,” said the Sales Manager.

At the same time the quality of the products is a must.

To further improve its quality standards, KOC applies for a certification from the Control Union of Cambodia. The “Certification from the Control Union is like the insurance that we truly follow the organic standards,” she said.

“We believe that having high quality products, will allow the customer to trust us more.”

Fresh products at the Khmer Organic Cooperative. Photo by: Lim Davin

Fresh products at the Khmer Organic Cooperative.
Photo by: Lim Davin

At KOC Ms. Chenda says that the quality comes first and sales volumes come second. Even though there is high demand of organic vegetables and fruits, KOC chooses not to import the products from other farms or shops, but upholds an idea to grow vegetables and fruits on their contract farms based on soil condition and weather.

“It is not that we do not want to increase the sales supply, but we do not want to import any vegetables and fruits that we are not certain about their origins,” said Ms. Chenda.

By doing this, she says the shop has increasingly gained trust from the customers. She adds that regular customers now ring for home delivery; the shop arranges a basket full of variety of vegetables and fruits and just sends it to the customers.

“We only need to make sure that there will be no repetition for the next weeks delivery”, said Ms. Chenda.

Khmer Organic Cooperative (KOC) in Phnom Penh

Khmer Organic Cooperative (KOC) in Phnom Penh

Note:

The story and photos are outcomes of a three-day workshop “Impact Story Writing and Basic Photography” for project staff of Improvement of Livelihood and Food Security of Landless and Land-Poor Households, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (ASEAN SAS), and their partner, Khmer Organic Cooperative. The workshop was conducted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from 14-16 February 2017 and attended by 14 attendees. ASEAN SAS Communication Officer provided the training.

For more information regarding Healthy Food please refer to our previous article: Safe food, Healthy life in Cambodia.

By Keo Chenda, Lim Davin, and Reth Vicheka, Improvement of Livelihood and Food Security of Landless and Land-Poor Households and Khmer Organic Cooperative.

Participant checking news sample during the workshop. Photo by: Keo Chenda

Participant checking news sample during the workshop.
Photo by: Keo Chenda

Group photo at the Workshop

Group photo at the Workshop

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Are vegetables at an organic shop truly organic?

MAIN PHOTO10 November 2017

… A common question that many customers ask the organic supplier

It is a matter of quality, trust and satisfactory.

Ms. Chhounso Chenda, a sale manager at Khmer Organic Cooperative (KOC) in Phnom Penh says that customers deserve to know every detail about the products they consume.

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„Good Mental Health brings Peace“

Bild127 October 2017

One could see this slogan on many yellow T-shirts last Tuesday on Campus of the Royal University of Phnom Penh at the “Youth Mental Health Day”. The Department of Psychology, with financial support by the GIZ Civil Peace Service, organized this annual awareness rising event for the fifth time and more than 1700 students, lecturers and mental health professionals were following the invitation. Beside the booths of the 15 participating organizations displaying information on their work, several activities were offered like yoga, mini-counseling and art therapy. New highlights this year were six expert talks held in the big assembling hall, covering various topics like “Contemporary youth, social media and mental health” or “Most common substances use in Cambodia and its consequences” and have met an interested audience.

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Mr. and Mrs. Potatoes in Cambodia

Main24 October 2017

Potato production field trial contributes to food diversification while offering a “new” cash crop to Cambodian farmers

Potato and Cambodia may not seem to match when it comes to food.  But, when searching into internet, potato and Cambodia cuisine walks hands in hands in a popular Khmer red curry, which CNN also suggests it is among the ten meals that visitors to Cambodia should try.

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Mr. and Mrs. Potatoes in Cambodia

Main24 October 2017

Potato production field trial contributes to food diversification while offering a “new” cash crop to Cambodian farmers

Potato and Cambodia may not seem to match when it comes to food.  But, when searching into internet, potato and Cambodia cuisine walks hands in hands in a popular Khmer red curry, which CNN also suggests it is among the ten meals that visitors to Cambodia should try.

Potato is one of the most imported vegetables in Cambodia similarly to its many other vegetable counterparts. The potato popularity does not only live on the local Cambodian cuisine, but is owned to the growing tourist industry including western restaurants as well as fast food sector in the country. It is also considered as a very good source of vitamin B6 and C and pantothenic acid to synthesize and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

According to a study in 2016 conducted by World Food Programme (WFP), Cambodia needs around 1 million tons of vegetable annually, however 56 percent or approximately 510,000 tons are imported annually from the neighboring countries. In early 2017, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Mr. Veng Sakhon said that Cambodia spent over 200 million USD for imported vegetable to meet the local demand. These massive imported vegetable are claimed by consumers, specialists and researchers from development agencies and institutions that they are often too expensive and are known to be only of second quality and contaminated with pesticide residues.

Potato retailer prices in Cambodia differ between 1.25 USD and 5 USD per kilogrammes. Those imported from Viet Nam are sold at local markets while the imported potato from the United Stated of America, Australia and Japan are available in supermarkets.

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As the demand of potato is increasing, different initiatives by the private sector and NGOs have been introduced to Cambodian agriculture. However, due to challenges with warm temperatures, pest and disease immerge, logistic, storing and market facilitation, these have made the promotion of potato production becomes difficult.

From December 2016 to March 2017, ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS) project being implemented by GIZ cooperated with the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) to conduct a demonstration trial in Ou Soum Commune, Veal Veng District, Pursat Province, which lies in the western Cambodia where considered as one of the potential area for potato production with lower temperatures and good soil quality.  While RUA played the major role in organizing the trial and data collection, ASEAN SAS provided technical support and organized the seed delivery from Europe which was provided by the IPM potato group company in Ireland and EUROPLANT in Germany.

The trial included four replicates with a density of 33,333 plants per hectare testing ten varieties including: PO3, PO7, Banba, Tornado, Electra, Fandango, Concordia, Marabel, Madeira and Red Sonia.

The results of the trial are shown in the table below:

Growth Parameter

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All activities are implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).