Organic vegetable waste is overlooked by many people and thought of as worthless garbage, but a young woman in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district has hit upon the idea of turning it into fertiliser for agricultural crops, contributing to reducing farmers’ costs.

Botchan Seryroth, head of Tony SM fertiliser enterprise, explained that the business was established in 2019 and was based on research done by her father.

“My father is an agricultural official, and he had been working on this idea for many years. I attended many training courses myself, and perfected the formula. Once I knew the product would be a success, I launched the company,” she said.

Made from a variety of vegetable waste, the company produces many kinds of fertiliser, including water soluble products. They meet the needs of all kinds of crop rotation, as well as serving as a food supplement for animals.

“My water soluble fertilisers are made from all kinds of fruits. Three types are specifically for use on crops, and two are for raising animals, either as feed or as an additive to water,” she said.

She added that her products are different from their chemical equivalents, because they do not have long-term negative effects.

“For example, our crop fertilisers help the soil to become more fertile, so fewer chemicals are needed. When they are used to raise animals, like fish, they provide nutrients, oxygenate the fish, reduce toxins in the water and help the fish to stay healthy and grow faster,” she explained.

She added that water soluble fertilisers are in high demand, because unlike chemical versions, they are affordable and do not have any negative health effects.

She said when farmers use water soluble products, they reduce their use of chemicals by up to 50 per cent, but achieve the same yields. Her products are made manually by three or four members of her family, although when seasonal demand is high, she enlists the help of more people.

“Our production schedule is somewhat irregular, because it is based on the growing seasons of farmers,” she added.

“For example, for part of the year, we focus on fertilisers that are designed for durian or cashew crops. In some months, we have focus on animals. Overall, however, we are producing and selling some kind of product every month of the year, whether in the dry or rainy season,” she continued.

At present, Tony SM’s five types of fertiliser are available in two sizes – 5 litres or 30 litres.

“Our prices vary from 30,000 to 50,000 riel per unit and we sell from 500 to 1,000 units per month,” she said.

She added that the company work with agricultural authorities to teach farmers how to reduce their use of chemicals.

“I ask all farmers to think about the types of fertilisers they are using, as they may be able to reduce both their production costs and the risks to their health. Overall, if someone grows fruit, I would encourage them to avoid the use of chemicals at all,” she added.