NEW, GUARANTEED INCOME FROM MULBERRY
Seng Kim is a 47-year-old woman living in Veng village, Takeo province. Kim and her husband, who is a farmer, have 3 children.
Besides growing rice, Kim’s main income is from making a hand-made, Khmer rice noodle called Num Banh Chork.
Kim recently joined the Maybank Women Eco-Weavers Programme to grow mulberry trees and has already planted more than 250 trees on land behind her house
Before joining the Programme, that patch of land was unused, as she was uncertain about what could be planted and what market she might have for a crop.
After hearing about the Programme she and her husband decided to join, in order to learn the technical know-how required to grow a crop of mulberry trees. The Programme offered them full support, which gave them the confidence to convert their empty plot of soil into a productive piece of land.
For their first crop, they were given free seed, technical assistance on planting and harvesting, plus additional fuel to pump water in case it would be needed during the dry season.
The Maybank Programme guarantees to buy her crops for 1000 riels per kg, equivalent to USD 0.25 per kg.
The crop is relatively low maintenance, with daily inspections to ensure the trees are getting adequate water and fertiliser and that there are no insects on the mulberry leaves.
So far, her 3 harvests have done well and leaves are collected and paid for by the Programme workers who pick them up from her home. Her new monthly income from her mulberry trees is around USD 15 per month, which is a substantial and dependable extra return from her farm.