Kong Sa Em (35) lives with her child and extended family in the Or Soeur village, Banteay Meanchey province. This village is recognized as one of the poorest areas in Cambodia. Em previously had an annual income of USD 125, which she depended on completely to pay for all the family expenses.

In 2015, East-West Seed collaborated with World Vision, selecting Em as one of the target farmers of the project. Em was offered the opportunity to learn how to grow caisim on a 1500m2 demo farm. With her newly obtained knowledge, Em went on to invest around USD 130 on land preparation, fertilizers, seeds, fungicide, insecticides, and electricity. With her first caisim harvest alone, she achieved a net profit of USD 295-more than doubling her yearly salary in a single crop cycle alone.

Full of enthusiasm following her success, Em planted cucumber in the second crop cycle. With a short harvest interval of just one month, she was able to net a profit of USD 545. Her rising successes boosting her confidence, she has since further experimented with multiple vegetable crops by planting bitter gourd, yard long bean, ridge gourd, and lettuce next to caisim and cucumber.

Despite starting as one of the poorest farmers in the community, her new knowledge has earned her a place as a key farmer, now happily supporting other farmers with her learned knowledge and advice. Many villagers visit her farm to copy her techniques and gain her insights and East-West Seed know-how. Em is proud to be able to pass on the knowledge that has been shared with her to empower others. Her own living standards have also drastically improved, enabling her to build a small kitchen and buy a motorcycle. She hopes to continue and learn more about vegetable farming the East-West Seed way.