Tag Archives: Kompong Thom

Crickets in Kompong Thom

Came across some old images from a story that never ran. So here you go:
Cricket farming inĀ  Kompong Thom

Traffic flies by the cricket traps

Traffic flies by the cricket traps

On the National Road 6 from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh about 40 kilometers from Kompong Thom sits an area that is famous for it’s crickets. The road is dotted with blue flourescent lights that attract the crickets.

Mrs. Chanta sits next to the blue fluoro lights

Mrs. Chanta sits next to the blue fluoro lights

Chanta, 33, starts work every morning at 4:00am as a cricket harvester. She makes 5 stops every morning. She is a farmer and works as a harvester on the side for extra income.

Cricket harvesting in the early morning

Cricket harvesting in the early morning

The cricket traps work as such: The crickets are attracted to the blue fluoro lights. When they jump to get closer to the light, they hit a plastic sheet and fall into a cache of water.

Sorting out the harvest

Sorting out the harvest

They can catch over 4 kilos of crickets at each farm they visit. They do an initial weighing in the dark and pay the farmer 10,000 riel ($2.50 USD) per kilo.

Cleaning the crickets

Cleaning the crickets

At Chanta’s house, the bugs are cleaned in water before sorting.

PIcking through the various sizes of crickets

PIcking through the various sizes of crickets

The crickets are sorted by weight and size. Other bugs that are in the catch are separated and sold separately. Once everything is sorted, Chanta goes to the market.

Chanta finds a buyer

Chanta sells some crickets while on the phone to a vendor in Phnom Penh.Some of the buyers are from Kompong Thom but the majority of her catch goes to Phnom Penh.

Weighing the crickets

Weighing the crickets

Chanta will sell the crickets for 20,000 (USD $5.00) Riel per kilo.

Calculating the morning's harvest

Calculating the morning’s harvest

Chanta heads back home by noon

Chanta heads back home by noon

Once she is done selling her crickets, Chanta and her husband head back home with some extra shopping.

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August 12 2009 – Santuk Silk Farm

Now in Kompong Thom at the Santuk Silk Farm among other locales.

Run by Bud Gibbons, an American expat and his Khmer wife Nevin, the Santuk Silk Farm has been open since 2006. They are quite popular with tourists transiting through Kompong Thom.
I didn’t get a chance to meet Bud as he was in Phnom Penh but got a great tour from Nevin as she showed me the inner workings of their farm.

Santuk Silk Farm

Santuk Silk Farm

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Fried crickets in Kompong Thom

UV lights dot the side of the road in Kompong Thom

UV lights dot the side of the road in Kompong Thom

On the bus back to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap, we stopped off in Kompong Chnnang for a lunch break. One of the stalls at the rest stop had crickets for sale. Deep fried and salted, they are a favored snack for many Cambodians.

Usually I am not interested in them but a few days ago, I hitched a ride with the car distributing the Phnom Penh Post to Siem Reap and saw the harvesting of the crickets in Kompong Thom. Hundreds of UV lights were set up along the road to catch the crickets.

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