The consumer day is designed to engage consumers in the chain of vegetable production from the farm to table by taking into account the practices of Ecofarm Group.
This event is based on few specific objectives:
- Raising consumers awareness on safe vegetable production and local food availability
- Introducing safety and quality assurance system-PGS which had been adapted by Ecofarm group to certify their products
- Reducing the gap between consumers and producers by creating communication platform that enhance short supply chain for safe vegetables
The consumer day had been organized 2 times. The first one was on 26/01/2019, and the second event was on 05/05/2019. The event took place from 8:00am to 3:00pm at the village of Koukreussey Chheung and Chrey Chheung village, Sotrnikum district.
- 26/01/2019: There were 46 people attended in this event in which 27 of them are consumers, 2 of them are local authority, and 17 people are member of Ecofarm who passed the safe vegetable certification.
- 05/05/2019: There were 59 people attended in this event in which 32 of them are consumers, 3 are local authority, and 24 are farmers.
To attend this event, consumers were encouraged to register their participation here
To raise knowledge of consumers toward safe vegetable productions and how its challenging, Ecofarm group had brought them to the field to see what are common practices for safe vegetable production and teach them how to grow vegetables and its associated crops, how to do compost solid, compost liquid, and bio pesticide. Adding to the field practices, consumers had also been showed how to harvest lettuce, the proper way to clean vegetables, and the good techniques to store vegetables for longer period.
From the visit, consumers were able to define the meaning of safe vegetables. They understand that safe vegetable production needs to follow the technical practices and restriction of any substances that harmful to the human health. However, to claim that it is safe to eat or not it is need to have a clear certification or information provided from farmers or producer groups. Getting informed about source of products and its practices will provide traceability and confidence to consumers. In addition, through this event consumers start learning about agroecology practices.
“all vegetables which had been grown by agroecology techniques are really safe to eat. I just realize that to produce safe vegetables is not easy like what I have thought. It does not need only water but it requires farmer’s efforts to take care those plants and to produce natural fertilizer such as compost to be used in the farm. It is hard and dirty”, said Oeung Sokhourch. Mr. Ting Yi also added that he was very delighted to learn from farmers about what is safe vegetable production. It was new to him and very fascinating. He will continue supporting farmers especially Ecofarm group for the safe vegetables. He did appreciate the effort of the project to make this event happened.
Beside understanding about production techniques, consumers also learned about how Ecofarm group certify their products by using Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). The president of Ecofarm group explained them about the 3 stages of inspection that scheduled by group representatives, AE advisers, and certification committee.
In conclusion, consumer day was a crucial event in linking consumers and producers together. through this event, consumers get some clue about how vegetables are produced and where they can find safe vegetables to eat. Moreover, the consumer day concept (objectives and procedures) was shared with Prey veng provincial department of agriculture in order they can develop the same activity to promote safe vegetable production in their province.
A short report of Consumer Day which had been done on 26/01/2019 was broadcasted on Siem Reap TV khmer website. It can be accessed here