The village of Kanat Toch is situated in northeast Cambodia in the Virachey National Park. Here, the rice fields stand in magnificent green; the plants bow under the weight of the crop. It will be a good harvest.
Under the instruction of Welthungerhilfe and its Cambodian partner organisation the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, the inhabitants of Kanat Toch have adopted new, effective farming methods: They use improved seeds and plants eedlings earlier. They leave one section of the rice fields fallow so that the earth can recover from the planting, which deprives the soil of its nutrients over time. The harvest is now rising year by year.
The rice is kept in storage containers, with one part being sold. This gives the farmers more independence, since access to the park’s natural resources, such as wood, wild fruits and drinking water, has been getting increasingly difficult in recent years. The causes: population growth, forced resettlement and loss of land.
Exercise civil rights
Foreign investors are often responsible for this loss of land as they search for precious metals and wood or use the land for rubber plantations. Therefore it is has become more difficult to grow the staple food of rice using traditional methods, and hunger has become endemic. Since 2005, Welthungerhilfe has been supporting inhabitants of numerous villages in the Ratanakiri province improve their living conditions; the Millennium Village of Kanat Toch is one such site.
In Kanat Toch, Welthungerhilfe is helping villagers farm the local woodland in a considerate way, whilst also working to put an end to hunger. New rice-farming techniques have been introduced, and gardens in front of the huts have been freshly planted. Lemon grass, coconut palms and watermelons grow here.
Meanwhile, fish and frogs are bred in the newly created ponds. The animals are cooked and eaten – or sold. These changes have improved the lives of the local people, who produce their own food, earn money by selling the excess, and suffer less from hunger.
In the Millenium Declartion of 2000 189 countries committed themselves to eight targets intended to ensure more global justice by 2015. Welthungerhilfe has also taken up this challenge, starting the Millenium Villages initiative in 2006. This gives the local population a voice and makes progress measurable. The focus is on the principle, "helping to help themselves". Village communities specify their problems, prepare solution pathways and implement these.The aid measures are financially supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
No land – no life: Land grabbing in Cambodia
Success stories from Millennium Village Kanat Toch, Cambodia