By utilizing organic waste to produce compost for farmers, Sotr Nikum district authorities in Siem Reap province hope to improve both the local economy and waste management.
A compost processing facility that will use earthworms to turn organic waste into premium fertiliser is being constructed in the district, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the NGO GRET Cambodia and ISD – a programme co-funded by Germany’s development agency GIZ and designed to help local authorities deliver high-quality services to citizens.
By sorting useful organic waste into compost, GRET Cambodia believed that the district will vastly improve the sustainability of its waste management.
“This project will boost the income of the local agricultural economy, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the total amount of waste that goes into landfills,” said a GRET press release.
GRET project manager Touch Sokharith told The Post on March 27 that the MoU was the first step towards working with local farmers and district authorities to start enhancing local garbage management. He estimated that it would take roughly a month before the compost manufacturing procedure could be tested, as the structure that would hold the facility was still under construction.
“We are currently working to complete the facility, and expect it to be completed towards the end of April. As soon as it is ready, we will introduce the earthworms and begin working with the local garbage collection contractors to establish the necessary procedures,” he said.
Thai Soda, deputy president of the Sotr Nikum Natural Safety Plantation Community – made up of almost 70 families who farm organically – told The Post that she hoped the project will be successful.
“It would be fantastic if we could source high-quality local compost. Currently, we make as much compost as we can, and use dung from our animals, but the wider community uses imported chemical fertilisers,” she said.
“Going forward, it will help the environment in general. On a more personal note, I would be pleased if more of the district’s farmers had a better alternative to imported chemicals. It will also promote the clean, green image of the region,” she added.
Heng Kunvuthy, director of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Office of the Sotr Nikum district authority, said garbage would eventually be collected and sorted from each of the markets throughout the district, but one commune had been selected for the testing phase.
“The first waste sorting activities will take place with the garbage collected from the markets in Dam Daek commune. We will instruct market vendors to sort their waste correctly. If all goes well, the community will see many benefits, and I hope the vendors contribute to its success,” she added.
Kunvuthy is a firm believer in the project.
“Organic compost that is locally produced from local waste is a win-win for the community,” she said.