A South Korean model village programme in Kampong Speu, Takeo and Tboung Khmum provinces has been lauded as successful in changing the lives of villagers for the better.
Oeun Thearith, head of the Rural Development Ministry’s community development department, said the three-year programme funded by the South Korean government to develop thirty villages will now serve as an example for others.
“For three years, the model villages successfully helped villagers develop their livelihoods and increase their farming productivity,” Mr Thearith said, adding that the programme concluded this year.
He noted that the $9 million programme was initially carried out by the Korean International Cooperation Agency and was handed to the ministry for further implementation in other selected villages.
Kim Myung Jin, KOICA deputy director in Cambodia, said the programme aimed to emulate South Korean villages in rural Cambodia.
“The model village [programme] is part of rural development promoting farming markets for villagers and it is very helpful,” Ms Kim said.
Ouk Kreng, a Lvea Toch model village resident in Tboung Khmum, said the programme encouraged villagers to work hard and help each other.
“Villagers can earn income from farming and when their livelihood is better, they don’t look for work elsewhere or migrate to another country,” Mr Kreng said. “Villagers help each other.”
Nob Thy, a deputy Kna model village chief in Takeo, said the 380 families in his village are mostly farmers.
“This programme urged villagers to work hard and not be lazy. They now work not only to support Cambodia, but also to export to other countries,” Mr Thy said. “The project changed their train of thought and they are now able to earn an income by farming.”
Ouk Peng, chief of Thnal Taskin model village in Takeo province, said the programme brought experts to the village to train villagers on new farming techniques.
“Villagers know and understand new ways to grow their crops and how to be more productive,” Mr Peng said. “Villagers developed their own ideas to apply themselves and I will help to share our experiences with other villages.”