Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youths use Facebook to ease farmers’ burden



Youths use Facebook to ease farmers’ burden

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
With borders closed and the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the economy, farmers have suffered from losses of income. Photo supplied

Youths use Facebook to ease farmers’ burden

The pandemic has affected everyone in the world in some way, but some have been hit harder than others. Cambodian farmers fall in the latter group, as many of them have faced a severe loss of income due to the pandemic-spiked economy.

To assist these farmers in dire straits, a group of youths has come together to create Covid Farmer Hacker, a project that hopes to link rural farmers with markets across the country.

The group was formed in late March by five students. They manage the Facebook page of the project and are working on ways to put farmers’ fruits and vegetables in consumers’ hands.

The five founding team members – Doung Chandarith, 23; Rile Piton, 20; Vang Rattanakmealtey, 20; Ean Sreyleak, 22 and Heng Sotheavy, 21 – are seniors in university or have just graduated.

While they were thinking of how to help vulnerable farmers at the grassroots level, they came across Impact Hub Cambodia, an organisation which connects and enables young Cambodians to solve problems in the world through entrepreneurial initiatives.

Sotheavy and Piton tell The Post: “As we see, lots of farmers’ products, including vegetables and fruits are not selling during Covid-19. We were all friends before and asked each other who was interested and which part they would be able to cover.”

They penned a proposal seeking support and mentorship from Impact Hub.

“The borders have been closed and even in the country, farmers aren’t able to sell well. This is why we came up with the idea of creating this project to connect farmers with leftover products to local and urban markets,” says Chandarith.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fruits and vegetables can be posted directly online by the farmers who harvest them. Photo supplied

The team at Covid Farmer Hacker also wants to safeguard farmers’ products against natural disasters and share new farming techniques through social media.

Chandarith, a medical student, broke down their mission in three steps. “In step one, we find interested members to plan a project.

“Step two, we manage the [Facebook] page, find a sponsor and start to publicly post to let people know more about us. We then start to share the farmers’ products and pass them on to those who are interested.

“In step three, when we are known by many people and supported by sponsors, we will go down to the community or provinces where agriculture has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and connect farmers and buyers through social media,” he says.

Sotheavy, who recently graduated from Cam Ed Business School with a degree in accounting and finance, says: “Now we only pass the information we have via Facebook. If we see farmers post pictures of their products, we will share and let people who are interested contact them directly.”

Chandarith says social media is the perfect avenue to drum up support and it was unnecessary to create a completely new platform.

Instead, if they manage to get sponsors for the project, they plan to use the resources to expand the rural farmer and consumer communities.

“If we get more sponsors, we want to have a bigger community to stay in close touch with them [the farmers],” he says.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The founding members of Covid Farmer Hacker believe there’s market potential for Cambodian farmers. Photo supplied

During the past seven months, the team has worked on the project voluntarily. Although they’re not paid, Sotheavy says the real benefit is helping the farmers.

“The benefit was basically for the farmers so they can sell whatever they plant and help them with techniques in growing. For the buyers, they can buy and help support local products of good quality.

“We are a group of youths and we didn’t want anything besides inspiring the locals to grow and through us, you don’t need the middlemen. From the buyer to the farmers, they can directly contact each other,” she says.

The team is also focused on doing more field trips for research. “The most important thing is that we want to encourage farmers to continue planting and let them know that they can supply the agricultural demand of the country.

“Looking ahead, we don’t want to be just a group who helps to pass on information. We hope to help them by personally following up. We hope to see our agriculture self-sustain our country. If we enhance local farming, we may be able to reduce imports.

“We just want to encourage people to support local products because if we don’t, they won’t have the motivation. So we want to help each other,” Sotheavy says.

Covid Farmer Hacker can be reached at [email protected] or call 010 594 849.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Bosba: The first Khmer woman composer from UK’s Cambridge

    Bosba Panh is just 25 years old, but she’s already accomplished some impressive milestones for herself and the Kingdom. On July 24, she graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge as the first Khmer woman composer and Khmer music graduate ever at

  • Pailin longan winery tries to break through to the big time

    Longan aren’t quite as glamorous as some fruits. They don’t have the star-power of mangos or generate the excitement of a pricey seasonal niche fruit like the pungent durian. Unlike bananas or oranges, which are known and loved everywhere, longan remains a decidedly

  • Debt restructuring over, time to tackle rising NPL ratio

    The Cambodian banking system has just completed a 26-month debt restructuring exercise where scores of loan accounts were revised, classified and provisioned as the rate of non-performing loans inched up, sparking a slight credit risk unease Implemented in April 2020, the Covid-19 debt restructuring measures came

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’

  • Koh Slaket studio resort brings culture with style

    Davitra (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s multi-million-dollar 13ha Koh Slaket studio-cum-resort just east of the capital was inaugurated in the first phase on August 6, providing national and international tourists with a new travel option and job opportunities for locals. The man-made cultural and scenic lakefront getaway