Rebecca Fong, Rebecca Cross, Robert Martin and Daniel K.Y. Tan
The University of Sydney, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Consumer demand for vegetables has been on the rise in the past 10 years due to their reported nutritional and health benefits. In addition, vegetables provide crop diversification for rice-based production systems, being suitable for crop rotation and therefore contributing to minimising the spread of plant disease and improving the quality of soil. Within the Cambodian market there is a strong, local preference for vegetables produced in Cambodia as they are recognised to be of high quality relative to those imported from neighbouring countries. This project aims to analyse the scalability of best practice in vegetable production, by conducting a value chain analysis (VCA) to map and evaluate each actor in the vegetable supply chain within Cambodia, including farmers, collectors and wholesalers. In addition, the degree of gender equality in vegetable production is assessed to determine if there has been progress with women empowerment in the production sector. The VCA was conducted using the mixed method approach, which included interviews with 140 farmers and surveys with 524 household representatives in the Cambodian provinces of Battambang and Banteay Meanchey. Challenges that actors in the VCA face are a lack of resource-base and technical knowledge. Cambodian men do most of the heavy labour activities such as land preparation and the application of both pesticides and herbicides, while women are more predominantly involved in monetary decision making such as managing the household finances and selling the produce. Women play a key role in vegetable production; integrated models that recognise women’s potential to capitalise on and value-add to vegetable products will advance the vegetable industry in Cambodia.