IBIS Rice farmers from three villages in Preah Vihear province have produced over 21 tonnes of natural compost, marking the first large-scale compost production of the year.

Supported by the Sansom Mlup Prey (SMP) organisation and funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the compost has been distributed to 17 local farmers as a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilisers.

Suos Vuthy, national agronomy coordinator for SMP, explained that the initiative aims to help farmers gain expertise in compost production and introduce additional crops, like turmeric, to their existing cashew farms.

“This will not only enrich the soil but also provide an additional income source for the farmers,” he said.

According to SMP, the compost was distributed to IBIS members in the villages of Dong Phlet, Tmat Paeuy and Prey Veng for use on rice fields and other secondary crops.

Vuthy said the compost was created by small groups of farmers who are now sourcing local materials, such as cow manure, for future production.

SMP’s focus on natural compost aligns with the broader aims of the IBIS Rice Project, a significant national REDD+ initiative to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation. The project mandates that all member farmers adopt sustainable practices to protect the environment and natural resources.

“Increased rice yields from using this compost will attract more farmers to the IBIS Rice Programme,” he added.

In a move to expand the initiative, SMP plans to increase the number of compost producers in these villages. Vuthy said the organisation will offer extensive technical support to improve compost-making techniques and help farmers adapt to climate change through organic and conservation-based practices.