Civil society organizations: Farmer organization
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Ms. Channaly Deeyhangway, Phommalok Farm Manager
Visiting PhoMaLok farm, one could easily mistake the farm for a garden. Colorful flowers and green fields extend into the distance. Fruit trees and courtyard garden bursting with flowers, fruits and vegetables of every kind are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. PhoMaLok farm, a small-scale integrated organic farm of 9ha, exists since twenty years. 2.5 ha are dedicated to crops such as rice and maize, 5 ha are made of forest and fruit trees. Cattle graze on rice paddies while poultry are fed with maize and crops wastes. Lae graduated from the faculty of social science in Vientiane and decided to go back to her village to take care of the family farm with her younger brother. She strongly believes that organic farming can alleviate poverty and provide freedom. The development of sustainable agriculture in her farm and its role in the local community sets it apart from its neighbours.
Agroecological practices are very important in organic agriculture to ensure stable ecosystems and preserve biodiversity. Moreover, it enables the farmers to produce safe food for household consumption, which is essential to Lae. She believes that sustainable agricultural practices have positive impacts on the environment as well as on her family and own health.
Lae’s farm plays an important role in the local community by providing trainings at her farm and by getting involved in many projects such as Buddhist monks project. She promotes local knowledge and practices and try to expand them through youth mentoring projects. She welcomes youth living at the village to come and learn about organic farming, aiming at attracting smallholders to stay in the village and work on their land. A potential impact of such action could be to reduce and or reverse the migration of poor farmers to urban area as well as the children migration to Thailand.
A big challenge for agriculture in general and sustainable agriculture in particular is to provide sufficient income for farmers to stay in their land. Therefore, it is important to assess economic sustainability of a farm as, amongst other indicators, the economic returns from agriculture should at least equal the income that could be obtained from off-farm activities.