Agriculture

Soil Microbe Technology Poised to Help Farmers Grow

A new technology in the form of Soil Microbes has been introduced to Cambodia by bio innovation company CISBAY to combat rising pesticide and fertilizer prices, improve soil quality and increase yields
A worker carries a pack of rice at a store in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
A worker carries a pack of rice at a store in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, new technology “Soil Microbes” from CISBAY has been introduced to Cambodia with the goal of improving soil quality, increasing yields, and notably lowering farmers' fertilizer and pesticide costs.

On September 21, the president of CISBAY introduced the Minister of Agriculture and officials to new and essential technologies, particularly the benefits of using soil microbes to improve soil and crop quality.

Jimmy TAY, President of CISBAY Asia Pacific Company, said Cambodia will be the next country in his company's investment plan and distribution of soil microbes, according to a Ministry of Agriculture Facebook post.

“The company's technology is not a fertilizer product, but rather a nutrient product that helps improve soil, fertilizes the soil, and reduces fertilizer consumption by around 50 percent as a hectare requires just one kilogram of this nutrient product,” he said.

Veng Sakhon, the Minister of Agriculture, said fertilizer and pesticide costs have risen during the Covid-19 outbreak and the war in Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, soil microbes will assist farmers in improving soil quality, increasing yields, and, most importantly, lowering the cost of fertilizers and pesticides.

He also urged the company to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries' specialized section to evaluate this product.

“Then, work with the General Department of Agriculture to develop and test possible crops, such as rice, corn, cassava, leafy vegetables, and rubber, at various experimental stations in the target provinces before sending them to the market,” he said.

In response to the introduction of soil microbe technology to Cambodia, Yang Saing Koma, president of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, said it can be beneficial in principle.

“However, how to earn profit or how much profit there is till the real evaluation first,” he said.

Currently, CISBAY's Soil Microbes technology is being utilized in 11 countries, seven of which are in Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand. They use it on rice, Vietnam on rubber, Indonesia on palm oil, India on rice, bananas, and wheat, and China on tea.

Nearly 61 percent of Cambodians reside in rural regions, and 77 percent of rural families rely on agriculture, fishery, and forestry for a living, according to USAID.

Therefore, the new technology for farmers would be beneficial.

According to the Report of the Cambodia Agriculture Survey 2022, crop activity was recorded on 94 percent of all household agricultural holdings in Cambodia. The survey assessed that agricultural income contributed a smaller proportion of total household income than the previous year to 34 percent of the agricultural households.

An estimated 31 percent of holders reported that agricultural income accounts for about half of their total household income, 16 percent reported it accounts for most or almost all of their total household income, and only 4 percent reported agricultural income accounted for all of their total household income, it added.

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