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Farming a surefire way to banish poverty

It is quite difficult to save money and improve one’s lot by having only one source of income, as Mr Keo Bounkhampha and his family found out, so they decided to grow crops and also raise animals.
Many families have been engaged in these two occupations over the years, in a bid to support their families and build some wealth. It is also government policy to encourage commercial crop production nationwide and in doing so help everyone to rise above poverty, including Mr Keo’s family, who live in Thongnoy village, Pakkading district, Borikhamxay province.
The family has now become a model in their community after working hard for many years and Mr Keo has tried his hand at many jobs in hopes of improving their standard of living.
In 1982, he worked as a village security guard but this did not bring in enough to make ends meet so he decided to apply to become a

Rubber trees grown by Mr Keo Bounkhampha will provide his family with a useful source of income.

teacher in two nearby villages.
But this line of work was also not very lucrative and did not enable the family to grow, so he gave it up.
In 2006, after quitting work as a teacher, he decided to plant some rubber trees on 16 hectares of land, which cost him about 27 million kip.
In 2012, he tapped the trees for their rubber which he sold, earning about 8 to 10 million kip per month.
But this amount still did now allow the family to thrive so he decided to use the money he earned from the sale of rubber to rear pigs, goats and cattle.
He then sold some of his buffalo, with each sale bringing him about 40 to 50 million kip, which was an added boost to the family’s savings.
Mr Keo kept the goats he raised for about six months before making two  separate sales, which each earned him about 5 million kip, while the sale of his pigs added a further 70 million kip to the family’s annual income.
In addition, Mr Keo’s family grew vegetables organically on a five-hectare plot, including sweetcorn, cucumbers, beans, Chinese cabbage, morning glory and coriander. They were able to sell these each day and earned an average of about 3.8 million kip a month.
He said that growing vegetables using organic methods was a good money spinner because more people liked to eat healthy food these days.
As time went by, Mr Keo found he was earning more than 100 million kip from the sale of his crops and animals.     
He said he wanted to grow different kinds of vegetables so that he was not growing the same crops as everyone else, because an oversupply kept the price low.
Before he plants vegetables he walks around markets to see what’s in short supply and then grows these crops so that they sell well and he gets a good price.
Now he can smile happily after meeting with so much success and seeing his family rise above poverty. Now they can save money and afford to pay for the children to go to university.
Now that the family is recognised as a model in the community, Mr Keo is helping other poor families to expand their agricultural activities so that they too can improve their circumstances just as his own family has done.
Mr Keo said the government was giving great encouragement to people engaged in agriculture, such as by providing electricity and water so that villagers could grow crops on a commercial basis.
He said it was necessary for families to work hard if they wanted to rise above poverty through farming, but added that this was a good way to earn a living and move closer to prosperity.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update June 10 , 2017 )

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