In order to check on the current, field conditions of the fish ponds and vegetable gardens, IDRC representatives along with the UBC and HKI team went on a field trip to Prey Veng province on June 6th, 2013.
During the half-day trip, we had the chance to visit two Village Model Farms (VMFs), two households and the newly established hatchery. Dr. Hav Viseth from the Cambodian Fisheries Administration were there to guide us with his aquaculture knowledge through both VMFs and the hatchery.
At the first VMF, we were elated to see that there were quite a lot of fish, of varying sizes, in the ponds. The vegetable gardens also seem to flourish despite the dry season. Most importantly, we had the chance to interact with its residents and ask them the many questions that we had. Additionally, since VMFs in our project serve as a training site for aquaculture and horticulture techniques, we were able to look through the comprehensive training and learning materials available there.
Right beside this VMF, was the first household that we had the chance of visiting. At this household, we also saw that its pond indeed contains fish of varying sizes. Furthermore, while we walked through this household’s kitchen, we had the chance to try ‘Pra Hok’. Not only is Pra Hok popular, this fermented fish delicacy can also be considered a staple food in the region. (While I was sorting through our project’s 24-hour food recall data, I noticed that Pra Hok consumption is very high. Anyways, I only tried a pinch of it but I can already taste its strong flavor. Honestly speaking, Pra Hok is too salty for my taste and I think that many non-Cambodians would need an acquired taste to fully enjoy its flavors. However, if eaten with rice, as is usually the case, it can serve as a delicious boost of flavor.)
Next, we went on to the second VMF, which were chosen as the site of the newly established hatchery. The husband and wife of this VMF were observed to be very hardworking and driven. Thus, they were the ideal people chosen to be in charge of the hatchery and fish seed production.
As we were given a tour of the hatchery, we were very delighted with the well constructed hatchery system. Right behind its residents’ house, there were two round cement tanks. The first tank served as the site for fertilization whereby male and female fishes were confined until eggs were produced. Next these eggs were transferred to the second tank until they hatch and produce fry. Besides these cement tanks, there were also a total of eight fish ponds whereby fingerlings and juvenile fish are reared.
Prior to ending our field trip, we had the chance to visit one more household. At this household, not only do its residents keep fish ponds and vegetable gardens as part of our project, they also rear chickens and pigs. From what I observed, the other households that we visited also rear some farm animals, but not as many as this household.
By: Ingrid Chandra