Changing the lives of Cambodian farmers

A team of UNE researchers is quietly changing the lives of Cambodian farmers.

The benefits to farmers are a saving in time as well as better production.”

Dr Geoff Smith

Dr Geoff Smith, Senior Research Fellow,
Institute for Rural Futures
, UNE

In Cambodia, smallholder farmers are challenged with poor soil, cattle disease and inadequate water security.

In one of South East Asia’s poorest countries, it is little wonder the farmers’ focus is on keeping their cattle alive rather than striving to produce a premium product.

However, a team of UNE researchers are working to change this by enabling farmers to capitalise on the growing demand for quality beef in the urban Asian centres of Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. In doing so, they are quietly changing these farmers’ lives.

Dr Geoff Smith, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Rural Futures at UNE said they are working with the Australian Federal Government, private industries, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and other non-government organisations to create a consistent and reliable supply chain to deliver a premium brand beef to the Asian market.

Firstly, they began working with Cambodian farmers to improve their cattle management skills and biosecurity knowledge to produce a premium quality beef product to take to market.

Then work began on engaging cattle traders to locate a market for their product. The restaurant industry and in particular the local BBQ restaurants are featuring as a very important market segment.

‘The benefits to farmers are a saving in time as well as better production, and we are building a system of good cattle management right along the chain to market, giving the consumer confidence in the end product. The project is building momentum over time and it’s very gratifying to see,’ said Dr Smith.

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