Organic Food

Selling Organic Local Produce to Help Farmers Grow

Entrepreneur Mok Sothavy was forced to scale back operations selling organic, locally-sourced produce after the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she is determined to bounce back with her mobile mart and franchise business model.
Entrepreneur Mok Sothavy poses for picture after interview in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Entrepreneur Mok Sothavy poses for picture after interview in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Mok Sothavy hails from a family of entrepreneurs. In 2006, her late brother started importing vegetables from China to Cambodia, he spoke Chinese and had a friend there.

Until three years ago, Sothavy, who also speaks Chinese, helped him. However, in 2019, Sothavy founded MX Foodmart and switched her focus to sourcing local vegetables because she believes they are safer for consumers.

MX Foodmart offers packaged food and vegetables for consumers through delivery via telephone, Telegram and the Facebook page. The company says their food and vegetables are organic and healthy.

In an interview with Kiripost, Sothavy said recent times have been tough. Due to Covid-19, she lost a shop and went bankrupt, losing $6,000. She was forced to scale down operations and transited her business to a mobile mart.

Sothavy said the initial idea for the business was to introduce healthy food and vegetables to consumers and promote the agricultural economy.

“The main thing is health because vegetable growers don’t think about safety and health properly, which leads to the production of vegetables that are unsafe,” Sothavy told Kiripost.

MX Foodmart food products on display in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
MX Foodmart food products on display in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

She said Cambodia has the capacity to produce safe food, but there are not many safe vegetables because importing vegetables from outside brings many bad health effects. However, a number of vegetables continue to be imported because they cannot be grown in Cambodia.

"We should import vegetables that we cannot grow, because of the vegetables we produce, we should support local vegetables."

"Vegetables are locally-sourced, and we have a partner organization that helps guide farmers to grow safe vegetables so we can market them," she added.

Before starting the business three years ago, Sothavy surveyed many communities about a stable sustainable supply of vegetables. Two communities joined her. Customers can also order her food and beverages via the MX Foodmart application.

As the business began to grow, Sothavy said she has started selling her franchise to others.

“We have a concept to sell a franchise. It can be a commission, selling in a house or opening a mart,'' she said. “We help decorate it and supply vegetables.

"Currently, what is a hindrance to this business is that people do not understand much about vegetable set services and there are no competitors."