Mushroom Cultivation, Thera Metrey
Earning less than $1 a day, Cambodians – especially women- face challenges in providing for their families. Farming mushrooms and selling at a fair price is reducing violence, human trafficking, low school attendance, substance abuse, and more.
Growing mushrooms, transforming families
The goal of the Thera Metrey, Mushroom Production project in Cambodia is for smallholder farmers to sustainably improve their family’s wellbeing.
Meaning “Compassionate Earth,” Thera Metrey is a local Cambodian cooperative enterprise for collective sorting, processing
Over $2,000 has been added to farmer incomes annually, enabling them to stop traveling to urban areas for work, save for larger purchases, and pay off existing loans. As husbands and wives no longer need to separate to earn a living, families work side-by-side to contribute to the success of their mushrooms farms. It also makes the families less vulnerable to trafficking.
Some mushroom growers have built water wells to increase their production and to expand into other cash crops like mung beans, which enhance soil in addition to serving as a food source, as well as higher value cultivars such as black and yellow ginger, rosella, cacao, and avocado. Others have gone on to build even more mushroom houses and buy agricultural waste from neighboring farms to supply their mushroom operations.
In the face of increasingly volatile weather, the mushrooms are climate resilient and able to be grown year-round, helping farmers mitigate the risk of crop failure and enjoy a measure of food security.
- Smallholder farmers sustainably improve their family’s wellbeing
- Increased household incomes from mushroom production and other cash crops compatible with women’s participation
- Improved health for women and children
- Improved local leadership in managing development outcomes, especially among women and youth
Having mushroom production at home as a source of livelihood helps reduce the tendency for these women and men to migrate…reducing their vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation for labor.