A new perspective through organic farming

The Bunong community in Mondulkiri (Cambodia) is affected by land grabbing on the part of international rubber companies. The loss of their land leads to hopelessness and causes social problems. In organic farming, the indigenous families find an alternative way to secure their livelihood as well as hope for and confidence in the future of their community.

The Bunong have been severely affected by land grabbing since 2008. Since then, the loss of their land has forced them to settle down and abandon their previous method of cultivation (swidden agriculture). Self-sufficiency as in the past is no longer possible. Through organic farming, the Bunong learn how to cultivate the little land left to them in a profitable way and to find a perspective in their struggle for existence as a community.

Our partner organisation, the Cambodia Indigenous Friendship Association (CIFA), has emerged from the community and supports the Bunong families in their transition to sustainable agriculture. CIFA teaches and advises the families in organic farming techniques and in the production and marketing of cash crops such as pepper, coffee and vegetables. They are taught the production of compost and natural pesticides so that they can cultivate their land independently of expensivechemical products. Thus, the families learn how to successfully cultivate the remaining land in the long term, which incidentally also protects it from land grabbing. By selling their products, they are able to improve their income.

At CIFA’s demonstration farm in Bousra, the results and benefits of organic farming become visible. Here, pigs, chickens and fish are kept and practical training courses are held. In addition, CIFA runs a small restaurant in Bousra, which also serves as a sales point for the farmers’ products. The CIFA staff are all Bunong. Through their work, they want to strengthen the Bunong community and create new perspectives for the families and future generations. 

Maeing Chouy

Director CIFA, Cambodia

„I consider the indigenous people to be the most vulnerable among all minorities in the province of Mondulkiri province. The loss of their land causes many problems. Agricultural cultivation as it used to be is no longer possible. I fear that the situation of the indigenous people will deteriorate in the future and that our culture and identity will get lost. CIFA was founded by Bunong who are worried about the future. We train the indigenous community in organic farming. This enables people to earn an income and gives young indigenous people a perspective for the future in their community. It is important for the indigenous community to join forces to find new ways and to take responsibility for their own future.”

Photo report Preceding project