Behind the postcard charm is a new and very modern reality. With help from CIDA, Chany has grown her vegetable trading business into a thriving network that now connects five markets and dozens of farmers.
Using her cell phone, she keeps abreast with daily price information provided by Cambodia's government and with her clients and rural farm suppliers, who are also equipped with cell phones. Within minutes she can find out which markets in her region are offering the best prices for vegetables, and who has the best products to sell.
"I now have direct links with farmers," she says. "Because I sell in five different markets, I can offer suppliers better prices and better quality products." Her network of small farmers in rural Takeo province continues to grow and product quality has increased.
The project helped Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries establish the national agricultural marketing information system in 24 provinces. It also offered training in product quality control and agricultural marketing to traders like Chany and to the country's small farmers, most of whom are women.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the project is that the benefits don't stop at direct beneficiaries like Kong Chany. Its 'train the trainer' feature means that she and others are teaching fellow traders how the automated market information system works. "I'm committed to continue to train other traders so they can grow their businesses just like I've done," she says.
According to project director Kith Seng: "This is a project which came to Cambodia at the right time. It is very needed for the people of Cambodia, especially to help rural farmers realize a better life".