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Home > Basin > Mekong > Innovative market-based strategies for on-farm water productivity (SG502)

Project title: Demonstration and documentation of innovative market-based strategies to realize agricultural income through increased on-farm water productivity and market integration (SG502)


In the Mekong River catchment of Svay Teap and Svay Chrum Districts in Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia, the project used the ‘Poverty Reduction through Irrigation and Smallholder Markets (PRISM)’ approach that is adaptable to the specific challenges and circumstances of the target farmers that are assessed by the farmers themselves.

The objective was to demonstrate a market-based strategy that will enable resource poor farmers to earn an income as competitive commercially-oriented producers addressing identified market opportunities. This necessitates greater on-farm water productivity achieved through farmers’ self-interest in optimizing water use to maximize yield quality, quantity, and profitability.

Research Highlights

Research highlights

  • This project identified that drip irrigation used 45 percent less water and farmers spent 71 percent less time irrigating compared to traditional watering practices (commonly sprinkle irrigation or furrow irrigation). The importance that farmers placed on the labour saving aspect of drip irrigation is an important insight gained from this project.
  • High value crops proved to be an effective means of improving net income with little extra cost to the farmer. High value crops can be identified by market assessments.
  • The most suitable market-based strategy that farmers in the project area should employ therefore is investment in soil fertility technologies, such as FDP, obtaining up-to-date market information, training in horticultural production, as well as investment in water control devices such as drip irrigation
Project Outcomes

Project outcomes

  • On average the 483 farmers who participated in this project by growing vegetables under traditional farming practices, doubled their income from vegetable production and improved their net annual income by $104. At the beginning of the project, farmers were earning an average income of $1.05 per day. By one year of project implementation, the average income had increased to $1.33 per day.
  • Knowledge about water productivity in agriculture: Drip irrigation is indeed an effective means of saving water. However under conditions present in the project area, this was of less importance to farmers than labour saving. This increased understanding of what is important to farmers will assist in tailoring marketing messages to promote greater uptake of this improved water productivity technology.
Publications and Outputs

Selected publications and outputs

Research papers

  1. Roberts, M., Long, A. 2007. Drip Irrigation Trials in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng 2005-2006. IDE-Cambodia.
  2. Roberts, M., Long, A. 2007. Provision of Agricultural Support Services to Small Farmers through Private Sector Agents: A Review of Selected Field Experience in Cambodia, IDE Cambodia.
  3. Baxter, N. 2007. Market Strategies for Water Productivity. IDE Cambodia

Farmer stories

  1. Yard-long bean as a source of household income for the poor (in Khmer)
  2. Women and vegetable production (in Khmer)
  3. Cucumbers and Income (in Khmer)

Survey material

  1. Data collection sheet for drip irrigation system experiments.
  2. Raw data drip experiments 2006 and 2007.
  3. Base and End line survey tools.
  4. Market assessment research guidelines.
Project Partners

Project partners


Project Lead

Project lead


For more information on Phase 1 outputs please contact Udana Ariyawansa.