Cambodian Farmers to Benefit from $500,000 Fund

A $500,000 fund is being rolled out across eight Cambodian provinces to develop platforms to help Cambodian farmers promote vegetables and fruits, pushing their monthly income from $108 to $200.
Vegetables on sale at a market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Vegetables on sale at a market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Cambodia-based agritech firm Kenko Shoku has partnered with Heifer Impact Capital to invest more than $500,000 to develop an online and offline marketing platform to promote vegetables and fruits grown by Cambodian farmers in eight provinces.

The joint investment marks a milestone for Kenko Shoku to expand its segment in the local market, while building more trust in locally-grown vegetables and fruits among local consumers.

The investment will support Kenko Shoku to improve its product quality by using digital technology platforms to produce traceability systems. Kenko Shoku is working with farmers by supporting them to grow GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standard vegetables and fruit.

Khin Marith, Managing Director of Kenko Shoku, said

‘‘Our main goal of joint investment with Heifer Impact Capital is to build an online and offline marketing platform that buys produce from Agricultural Cooperatives supported by Heifer Programs in Cambodia.”

He added, “The engagement is expected to create a demand-pull affect for Heifer-supported farmers and agricultural cooperatives. A credible buyer’s contract will strengthen agricultural cooperatives' business plans to access financing opportunities in the country.”

Through the process of engagement and technology with the farmer collectives and franchisees, Kenko Shoku is building supply chains for smallholder producers and markets for young entrepreneurs.

Currently, Kenko Shoku owns six farms with a distribution target area of eight provinces and investment of approximately $20,000 per farm. Through this engagement, the firm plans to expand in a franchisee model to 91 retail shops and 10 wholesale shops by 2025 to reach the entire country. Kenko Shoku will build wholesale shops while retail shops will be owned by franchisees.

Regional Director of Heifer Impact Capital, Pranjit Talukdar, said,

“Heifer International works across Cambodia to connect farmers with scores of women-run self-help groups, agricultural cooperatives, and unions. These strong networks enable farmers to join forces and access markets and financial capital.”

He added, “This project aligns with Heifer Impact Capital’s goal to improve access to finance and investment across the agricultural value chains where Heifer works.”

The investment will allow the company to procure 10 to 15 tons of produce per month from 87 agricultural cooperatives working with Heifer. Contracted farmers’ incomes will increase to $200 per month from current income of $108 per month.

Nhem Sareth, Country Director of Heifer International Cambodia, said, “The investment from Heifer to the private sector will help rural smallholder farmers and their communities to access inclusive markets and develop the capacity to supply sufficient products to market.”

He added, “This investment is made to diversity within the marketing program of Heifer Cambodia’s Poultry Project of National Pride in Cambodia. We require this inclusive partnership built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the center.”

Kenko Shoku launched in October 2020 as an AgriTech Company with the vision to advance Cambodia’s agricultural sector’s reach in the local and international market. The company’s mission is to build a flourishing end user community market of healthy food in Cambodia by engaging with farmers and farmer collectives.

Kenko Shoku Cambodia is a local venture company who would like to bring Cambodian agriculture to the world by using IT technology, modernize farm technology to help farmers, and build B2B and B2C platforms to fasten market access.

Heifer Impact Capital is a global impact private investor focused on pro-poor wealth creation for small holder farmers. Working through local and regional financial intermediaries and other partners, this work leverages Heifer International’s grant funding, along with other investors’ funds, to generate positive impact and financial returns, while improving access to finance and providing affordable investment capital to farmers and cooperatives.

Heifer International Cambodia started in Cambodia in 1999 with a program to improve production and increase the income of smallholder farmers through backyard chickens and safe vegetables. Projects at Heifer Cambodia are increasing food security, improving sanitation and hygiene, building agricultural skills and investment, and integrating Micro-Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) into inclusive agricultural market systems and value chains.

[Partnered Content]