They say a farmer’s work starts before dawn, but in Cambodia’s Battambang province farmers work together late into the night to prepare their vegetable harvest for the overnight bus ride to the capital city’s markets.
A metal barn that was empty hours ago is now filled with colorful crates, buckets and bags of fresh produce — leafy greens, nubby roots and heads of cabbage — and neighbors bustling to fill boxes. This is a vegetable packinghouse, where members of the Tasey Samaki Agricultural Cooperative collectively market their horticultural crops to wholesale distributors and specialty retail stores.
These small-scale farmers have been working with researchers from the University of California, Davis, and Cambodia’s Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) to test new methods, like the packinghouse, for growing and selling produce locally. Their work is part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, a global network focused on fruit and vegetable research that is led by UC Davis and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.