Scorpions are more than just creatures of the desert. These adaptable creatures inhabit a range of natural habitats from savannas and forests to mountainous areas. Though they are usually associated with fear and danger, one Cambodian farmer sees them differently.
In Mondulkiri, a farm owner has embraced scorpion farming, achieving remarkable success. Selling them for prices ranging from $1,000 to $1,500 per kilogram, these black, double-clawed arachnids are more than just pests.
Hach Chhorn, owner of “400 Farm”, breeds scorpions and sells them for thousands of dollars each month.
“The scorpions I breed on my farm are local species. While we initially had concerns about their venomous nature and were afraid, they are highly beneficial. They should not be underestimated,” he says.
Chhorn is no stranger to agriculture, having previously bred various aquatic species like fish, eels, lobster, and snails. His farm is located in Orna village, Sre Khtum commune, in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district.
His scorpion farming journey began in 2022 after a year of extensive testing.
According to Chhorn, his farm has a diverse range of 400 species to date. However, he ensures that he only breeds legal and native species with the potential to generate income.
His research is meticulous, using online platforms like Facebook and YouTube to understand the sources, benefits, and potential for job creation of each species he chooses.
He has constructed the scorpions’ shelters to mimic their natural environments, with ponds or sections of cement drainage pipes measuring seven centimetres square and one meter or 80 centimetres in height. Within each pond or pipe, he can accommodate 1,000 to 1,500 scorpions, allowing them to breed naturally.
Their diet consists of worms, crickets, and termites. Chhorn has proven that with the right approach, scorpions can be more than just creatures to fear. They can be consumed as food, sold, and even used for medicinal purposes.
In a world where adaptability is key, Hach Chhorn’s farm stands as a testament to innovation and vision. By seeing potential in what many would regard as menacing, he’s turned fear into fortune, showing that with understanding and care, even scorpions can become a valuable resource.
The breeding process at Chhorn’s scorpion farm is an intricate one.
“After the breeding process, it hatches from eggs within the mother’s womb,” he explains.
He continued: “The baby scorpions cling to their mother’s back, reaching reproductive maturity in about a year. Once mature, they can breed two to three times”.
Each breeding cycle yields a significant number of offspring, from 10 to 50. With tens of thousands of scorpions on his farm, Chhorn also sells pairs at 15,000 to 20,000 riel ($3.75 to $5). For customers buying in bulk, the price ranges from $1,000 to $1,500 per kilogram.
Scorpion farming has quickly found success across various provinces across Cambodia. Although Chhorn hasn’t begun selling scorpions for food, he offers them for breeding, medicinal uses, or personal consumption.
“In neighbouring countries, scorpions are grilled and consumed as a type of food known for its potential health benefits, without causing harm to human health,” he noted.
His farm, now with 20 ponds, yields tens of thousands of scorpions. Chhorn leads a team of 30, harvesting scorpions at four months of age.
He assures that scorpions pose no biting threat if handled properly. He sees them as more than a danger but a valuable asset.
“They can be bred in sections of cement drainage pipes or cement ponds, serving as a source of income and even as food,” he says.
The potential in scorpion farming is also recognised by the local authorities.
Sok Kheang, the director of Mondulkiri province’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, spoke to The Post about the innovation at the farm.
He said: “Scorpions were once seen as wild species, and farming them is a relatively new idea. However, we have also provided training in fish farming at this farm”.
Hach Chhorn’s farm is not only a thriving business but a testament to the potential of alternative farming.
With careful breeding and understanding, scorpions are transformed from feared creatures to a source of income, education support, and even nourishment.
His innovative approach provides an inspiring example for farmers looking to diversify their offerings and consumers open to exploring unconventional dietary choices.