08 Jan 2019
FROM the age of 16, Keam Korng would wake up each day at the crack of dawn to ride his ageing motorbike the more than 20km from Dounkeo commune to Pouk district for his construction job. Returning home late at night, he would also have to find time to harvest crops from his backyard to feed his family.
“I worked in construction since I was 16 without any progress but only hardship. I was busy at the construction site all the time, and the small amount of money I earned would be gone once I paid for everything,” Korng says.
But in June last year, all that changed for the now 35-year-old. As part of an initiative led by non-profit Heifer International (HI) – in conjunction with local partners and the local government in 12 provinces – Korng has been provided with the skills to have a more sustainable lifestyle through small-scale farming.
The former construction worker now earns his living raising hens and baby chicks on his small family farm to sell to nearby communities, thanks to the training programme he was provided by HI.
“If I raise hens in the backyard, I can have more time to plant crops and go fishing for my daily food,” Korng says.
Today, Korng raises chicks that are sold for 3,000 riel ($0.75) each. He plans to produce 1,500 chicks per month to meet the overwhelming orders he receives from meat suppliers in nearby communities.