Our Organic Farm
Svay Chek Farm is an experimental organic farm located about 20 kilometers North of Siem Reap City. Since 2014, we have been using chemical and pesticide free farming methods. 30 varieties of crops are grown and animals raised organically at Svay Chek Farm within an area of 42 hectares.
Our fundamental mission is to inspire and give access to stable and sustainable living by the means of agriculture that would last 1000 years long, like Angkor Wat, the symbol of Siem Reap. Ambitious but possible!
Organic Farming in Cambodia
We are located just 20 kilometres north of Siem Reap City in a commune called svay-chek.
We use pesticide-free farming methods and grow 30 different kinds of crops on our 100% organic farm.
Our farm covers an area of 42 hectares. Here, we grow different kinds of fruit and vegetables.
We want to inspire sustainable living with methods of agricultures which last for a 1,000 years!
In 1999, I moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia. While working and living there, I felt that the country needed a place for young people to work and become independent. In 2003, I started Angkor Cookies to create a place for even uneducated women to work.
The company has grown based on its philosophy to offer Cambodian souvenirs that are made by the Cambodian people by using Cambodian raw materials. I traveled around Cambodia, scrutinized Cambodian agricultural products, searched the most suitable ingredients for cookies, and worked with staff to prepare delicious cookies and produce Cambodian souvenirs.
I have always felt that the urban areas of Cambodia have undergone remarkable economic development. In contrast, its rural areas have not changed in this past decade.
I started becoming uncomfortable with the social system and felt something was wrong with the fact that agriculture, which is supposed to be Cambodia’s primary industry,
could not become a profitable industry.
Eating is essential to sustain our life. Along with the development of science, food supplements may replace a full-day meal in the future. However, eating is indispensable for us today.
Isn’t there is something wrong with the structure of society where those who work in agriculture that produces food for everyone only live a meager life? While going around the villages to purchase cookie ingredients, I thought about what I can do to make agriculture become an industry in Cambodian society.
People in the countryside are working on the farmlands because that’s all they have been doing for generations. Having to help their parents since they are young, they did not attend school and could only do farming. They farm in the countryside because they cannot work in the cities, even if they want to. That is the situation in the country. In Cambodia, it is commonly accepted that being a farmer means being poor. That makes more people are unable to live a decent life only from agriculture, and many of them go to find work on construction sites and farms in Thailand.
I started the agricultural projects in Cambodia based on a belief that agriculture can become an industry, and people can make a stable living through agriculture to achieve a society where everyone can live with their family in a place where they were born and raised. I purchased a 37-hectare land in SvayChek Village, Angkor Thom district, located about 40-minute drive northwest of Siem Reap, cleared the thick forest, planted crops, built a road, anstarted the SvayChek Farm in 2014. Svay means mango, and Chek means banana. Here, at the Mango and Banana farm, about 3000 mango trees, 3,000 banana trees, 10,000 pineapple plants, are grown organically using chemical-free fertilizers and pesticides with lime, sugar cane, and more than 30 kinds of vegetables.
After getting the foundation of the primary industry of production solidified, the next stage is to produce processed goods using these vegetables and fruits. The primary industry alone cannot compete with cheap vegetables from Vietnam and China. I believe that processing, adding value, and creating a system that sells products throughout the year are the keys to survival in agriculture.
After realizing the manufacturing process of the secondary industry, the next step is to invite customers to come to the farm. We believe that the farm will become a tourism farm, and bringing people here will revitalize the whole village and improve the employment rate, all of which may lead to the sixth industrialization of agriculture.
It is essential to establish a production system for vegetables and fruits as the first step to that achieve that purpose. The climate here is entirely different during the rainy and dry seasons. Not using chemical pesticides means a constant battle against insects and diseases. In the rainy season, grass grows at a disastrous speed. Sudden storms can damage and kill the vegetables. Although growing vegetables with chemical-free pesticides is more time-consuming and costly than I imagined, I hope to realize the production of vegetables that are not commonly available in Cambodia in the Siem Reap area and lay the foundation for Cambodian agriculture in the future.
Like Angkor Wat, the symbol of Siem Reap, SvayChek Organic Farm is building the system for an agriculture-based industry that can be inherited to the future generations in 1000 years from now.
Living conditions remain hard in the Cambodian countryside and lots of villagers are still compelled to leave their homes and work in construction or farming abroad. This is one of the conditions we aim to avoid by firmly re-establishing the foundation of agricultural techniques and, by doing so, reinforcing the primary sector in Cambodia.
We aspire to become a pilot farm to this end. As part of this endeavour, we will develop a label for organic products in Cambodia.
Svay Chek Organic Farm Factory
It is quite well known that organic farming principles give better results when followed over time, especially in Siem Reap province where soils are fairly poor and constantly need to be enriched with organic compost. Growing organically is quite a challenge in this context and we continuously need to improve the land’s productivity for the next crop, which also implies a financial challenge. There is beauty and pride in striving to produce crops that are depending on a closed loop and not relying on outside inputs, but it requires creativity to develop such a system.
To be able to cope with the challenges of organic farming and to add value to the crops, our secondary mission is to develop the knowhow in the conception of final products from the fruits and vegetables and, by doing so, sustainably supporting our organic farming and in the future reinforcing the secondary sector in Cambodia by sharing the acquired know how.
Our factory has that specific mission to add value to our crops and make organic farming more sustainable. We are producing dried fruits, mango wine, jams, dressings, pesto, candied fruits and we will be developing more final products in a near future. The factory for mango wine will be operational by February 2020.
Our factory is a supporting satellite of our organic farm and fundamental mission.