Big Bean Market - by team Mee (Khmu)

  Song : Come along! (Theatre team song)
  Scene 1 - Meeting the company
  The village chief calls a meeting. A representative from the NPI company has arrived to see if anyone in the village is interested in a new cash crop.
Everyone in the village comes. The NPI representative makes a presentation on the soya bean and all the products that can be made from it such as human and animal feed, tofu, soya milk, oil and candles.
The villagers learn that if they agree to plant soya beans then the company will make a contract with them, guaranteeing to buy the product after harvest at a certain price.
Some of the villagers are worried that they won’t get the advice and training to grow the crop properly, but the company assures them that they will receive enough. The company representative goes out, and the villagers discuss among themselves, some of them are interested and have the land to plant soya beans. These farmers make a contract with the company.
  Scene 2 - DAFO train the farmers
  The district agriculture and forestry office has sent a representative to train the farmers. He demonstrates how to plant and care for the soya bean plants, teaches the farmers about pest control and how to harvest the crop.
  Scene 3 - Planting

The family Tjik plants the seeds in rows, at an equal spacing as the DAFO official instructed. The man makes the holes with a stick, the women drops 2-3 seeds into one hole.

In her field, the farmer, Simone, plants the seeds carelessly, using many seeds in one hole. She complains about the heat, finishes the job quickly and leaves.

  Scene 4 - Care and pest control
  Tjik’s family lets water from the irrigation system into their field and the plants start to grow. When the water disappears, there are young plants standing in the field.
Tjik goes to the field alone to cut the weeds. There is a buzzing sound, which Tjik cannot identify. Suddenly a swarm of black soya bean flies attacks the field and Tjik tries to drive them away, but they are very persistent. Tjik goes to get some organic fertilizer and sprays the field. All the flies die and the young soyabean plants are saved.

Simone goes to the field to weed, but gets tired quickly in the hot sun and lies down to rest. There is a buzzing sound and a swarm of black flies appear, but she doesn’t wake up until the flies have eaten half of her plants. She drives them off angrily, and then looks despondently at her field. It’s not easy growing soyabeans she concludes and lies back down to sleep.

Then there is a squeaking noise and a rat scuttles in, sniffs at Simone and calls to his friends that it is safe to come in. The rats feed on the remaining soya bean plants. When Simone wakes up and chases them off, it is too late and her field is bare.

Tjik’s family comes to water the field again. When the water is let out, the plants are now big and strong and bear yellow flowers. Phone begins to weed the field, but her father stops her. If you weed when the plant is bearing flowers, he tells her, you will lose all of the seed and have a very low yield.
Then they make a fence together and set traps along its length. When the rats come and try to enter the field they get caught in the traps. Tjik comes to inspect the traps with his family the next morning and clear the
traps which are full of rats.

  Scene 5 - Care and harvest
  The family lets water into the field again and when the water disappears, there are plants in the field with yellow leaves. Tjik notices this and tells Phone that it is time to harvest the soya beans. After harvesting the beans, Tjik and Phone dance to celebrate their good harvest.
The family harvest the beans by cutting the plants with a sickle and leave it to dry for 3 days. Then they put the dry plants into a sack and thresh them with a wooden stick.
Then they clean and sort the soya beans.
  Scene 6 - Selling to the company
  Now after the harvest, the company representative comes to collect the produce from the farmers. She weighs the goods and refers to the contract she made before with the farmers. Tjik’s family is paid the promised price for their goods and has a lot of soya beans to sell. They complain however about the size of the beans, which have turned out very small and about the price which they think is too low. The company representative says they predict that the price will rise by a small amount each year. The villagers promise to plant the next season if the company increases the price.
She then turns to Simone, who also made a contract with her at the beginning of the season. Simone has a very small bag of beans with her. The company rep asks her if she cared well for her field. Simone says that she cut weeds and chased the bugs, but only sometimes, not regularly. She complains that planting soya beans is too much work for her and says she does not want to plant the following year. The company rep gives her money for the beans that she has produced.

The villagers celebrate the soya bean harvest with a dance and song.