“Church Increasing Self-Reliance in Cambodia,” Ensign, Apr. 2008, 78–79
Partnering with the Center for Study and Development of Cambodian Agriculture (CEDAC), a local nongovernmental agency in Cambodia, the Church is working to improve the lives of 7,000 families and help them rise out of poverty.
Small farmers are learning a new method of cultivating rice—the system of rice intensification (SRI) that increases production more than 200 percent. The Benson Institute Family Food Program, under the umbrella of Humanitarian Services, is responsible for the three-year Cambodia project.
Currently more than 2,000 farmers in 100 villages have learned the new method of planting rice. None of the families in the food production program are members of the Church.
For hundreds of years these small farmers have raised rice the same way, by planting and flooding their small plots of land. Now they are learning how to grow the rice in a dry field. This method has more than doubled the farmers’ yields, giving them a much larger harvest to sell at market. Production costs have been reduced as well.
The Church is also helping to improve the people’s nutrition. Families in these villages usually survive on rice and any fish they can catch. They are now learning how to plant personal vegetable gardens and how to raise chickens. The villagers, who sometimes catch eels and frogs to eat, are now also learning how to breed these animals for a consistent supply of protein.
Another aspect of this program is the education of families in modern hygiene and health practices.