Income Generation - Cow Bank

Cow  banks  are  a  sustainable  income-generating  service supporting  the  livelihoods  of Cambodian farmers across 46 villages since 2007.

To establish a cow bank HelpAge contributes five cows and training in how to manage a cow bank. The cow bank programme is managed and administered by local Older People’s Association members to select and train recipients, record data and practice animal husbandry.

Recipients are local OPA members who are fit and active older farmers with enough land to build a cow barn. Every first and third calf bred is given to the cow bank as a repayment, while the farmer keeps every second and four calf that is born. After a year, the farmer is debt-free with greater income earning potential.

A farmer can sell a cow for around USD 500, guaranteeing enough income to cover their child’s education, healthcare and wedding expenses. Cow manure is used as an organic fertilizer for growing rice and vegetables for healthier chemical-free food and reduced expense. For poorer farmers, they can save money by renting hand tractors so the cow can plough their rice fields.

Animal husbandry keeps older farmers physically active as they find grass feed and wash the cows. Social and intergenerational bonding occurs when they teach the skill to their children and grandchildren.