Ms. Soa Chan, is a 68 year-old widow, living with her two grandsons in Thmar Romeal. Her family moved into this community five years ago from Battabang province where they faced difficulties in earning a living. When she first arrived in Thmar Romeal, her family received a small plot of land (size: 50m x 30m) from the local authorities for housing and planting some crops. She said life at that time was very difficult due to the lack of water, financial inputs and means to cultivate the land. She then started growing papaya, sweet potato, morning glory and some other vegetables largely for the household but also selling the surplus. Besides this, she also made traditional cakes to sell in the village for extra income.
In the beginning of 2011, with the help of some seed money, she was able to build a pig house (size: 4mx 2.5m) using local materials. This was a fairly traditional construction but adapted to her own needs. She bought 2 small piglets at $50 each to raise for the first cycle. The pigs were fed on waste vegetables she grew around the house mixed with (rice) bran and leftover kitchen food and some commercial pig feed (around 10 kg per cycle). She cleaned the pig house and collected manure on daily basis.
Five months later, her first two pigs had reached a market weight of around 85 kg each and then she decided to sell both of them at $200 in order to buy the replacement stock and keep some money as savings. She was very happy and said that this was an initial success for her in pig rearing. She would continue the rearing activity and expand the business in the next cycles. To date, she has already gone through four pig rearing cycles, achieving very good results in terms of improving her skills and increasing income. Since the third cycle, she has expanded the rearing activity up to four pigs. She realized that vaccinations against parasite –born diseases were very important factor for their health and to grow up quickly.
Through the pig rearing, she has recently afforded to buy a new plot of faming land (size: 70mx30m) and to hire a machine for ploughing. In addition, she was able to support one of the grandsons to go to school. Finally, she said that the pig rearing activity, if managed well (through improving rearing techniques and inputs), would become a very suitable option for improving livelihoods of the rural farmers.