On Wednesday, I took a trip to visit several USAID sites in Pursat and Battambang provinces. I love being able to get out to the provinces, as I think you can tell, because I get to meet so many Cambodians. On my stop in Pursat, I met a farmer, Mr. Muth Ly, and his family. Mr. Ly is a participant in the Helping Address Rural Vulnerabilities and Ecosystem Stability program – which we call HARVEST – part of President Obama’s “Feed the Future” initiative here in Cambodia. I was grateful for the opportunity to talk with him and learn about his farm first hand.
Mr. Ly showed me his cucumber and long-bean crops, and he showed me how he starts with seedlings and then transplants the small plants into the field. When he showed me his corn stalks, I told him that in the United States there are some states where all you can see is corn for miles, just like in Cambodia there are some places where all you can see are rice paddies.
At the end of our visit, I got to meet with Mr. Ly’s eleven children. Through the HARVEST program, Mr. Ly’s annual income has increased from $250 to $1,800 a year. When I think of how much this will improve his children’s lives and futures, it makes me proud to be the U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia.