“Surviving Cassava: Smallholder Farmers’ Strategies for Coping with Market Volatility in Cambodia,” published in the Journal of Land Use Science, is a study by Beban, Cole, and Gironde investigating the strategies used by smallholder farmers in Cambodia to manage the erratic cassava market. The study finds that smallholder farmers in Cambodia have increasingly turned to cassava as a vital crop. However, the cassava market is volatile, and yields can be unpredictable. In their study, Beban and Gironde examine the various strategies adopted by smallholder farmers to manage the erratic cassava market.
The study found that the majority of farmers did not receive any technical assistance from public or private actors in the cassava supply chain. Only a small number of knowledgeable farmers who had connections outside of their local community received support, through attending a one-day training session organized by the district or capital town’s agriculture department for both cassava and rubber.
The authors suggest that tools such as resources to cope with weather and pest/disease events, low-interest financing, and crop insurance could support farmers in developing coping mechanisms that enable autonomy without increasing their long-term vulnerability. The study poses the question of how corporate, governmental, and development actors can assist farmers in making the transition from struggling to flourishing, and improve the cassava industry for smallholder farmers in Cambodia. Read full article here