August 6 CAFACA visited some farmers’ associations in Kampot province, Chhouk district. They were meeting about this season’s planting of trees. The eminent ambassador for CAFACA, Mr. Sophal, facilitated the meeting. He recently stepped down after serving his maximum term of eight years as president of Farmer and Nature Network (FNN). FNN is the national organisation for the 1.500 farmers’ associations.
Present at the meeting were representatives of four associations already affiliated with CAFACA, as well as two associations, who consider joining. Mrs. Sareoum, who is district vice-governor and responsible for environmental issues, children and women, was present too. She is a very actively supporting CAFACA.
Mrs. Sareoum explains a point. Mr. Sophal is seated to her left.
Mr. Sophal explained the prospective new member associations about CAFACA, what it does and what a contract between associations and CAFACA entails. The farmers get the seedlings for free as well as support to their planting and tending for two years. They also get free use of fruits, twigs or leaves for selling or use e.g. as fodder. The contract also spells out that the farmers’ association gets income from the sales of the carbon from ‘their’ trees. They get paid according to annual growth, which CAFACA measures together with them.
One woman from one of the prospective new associations asked the obvious question of who would collect the carbon and when? That called for an explanation by Mr. Rithea from CAFACA. He explained that the payment is for the trees ‘cleaning the air’ and therefor the trees just have to remain. Trying to explain about CO2 and climate change would be much too abstract. Clean air is easier to perceive, even if it may be a bit strange that people in Europe will pay for clean air in Kampot…?
The rains finally have arrived, so after the meeting our team visited a few places where trees have been planted or will be so in the coming weeks
Mr Hun Mon
Mr. Hun Mon is active in the local association and elected to the commune council. He has organised the planting of thousands of tamarinds along a local dirt road. In a few years they will form a shaded alley, leading just past a large water reservoir dug seven years ago. Bordering the dam the farmers have planted other thousands of trees. Mr. Hun Mon learned, across the nearby border to Vietnam that places like that attract local people who want to fish, enjoy some good food or meet, maybe discreetly, with a loved one. So when the trees grow up, somebody could make a restaurant, put-and-take fishing or other small business. That’s fine with CAFACA, as pole will then take even better care of the trees.