The rapid development of the world has seen many exciting changes, with more people being lifted out of poverty than ever before. With this progress come several downsides, including man-made disasters such as deforestation, waste disposal, hunting or overfishing, pollution from factories, and other activities that challenge the well being of the planet, and thus the human race.
As a country that is favorable for agriculture, Cambodia must carefully consider how to meet the growing needs of domestic and foreign markets, while also protecting the safety of consumers.
One female entrepreneur saw the issue of food safety becoming an issue more than a decade ago, and established an agricultural wholesaler that strives to meet international standards
Chao Lon Molika founded Cambodian Standard Development and Supply (CSDS) with the intention of promoting a comprehensive, standardised agricultural sector.
She said she opted to specialise in safe fruits and vegetables because of the health problems that low quality produce could cause to the public.
“Our company pays special attention to food safety issues. We ensure the quality of our products by making sure every stage of cultivation is in line with best practice agricultural standards,” she said.
“We also consider the packaging, cleaning, transport of the harvested produce, and employ refrigerated storage to ensure its quality,” she added.
Her company works closely with the grassroots of the industry, often meeting with farmers and teaching them about modern farming techniques. In addition, it has established a food safety forum, where clients can learn about international standards.
CSDS works closely with several associations and organisations across the Kingdom to supply local agricultural products to schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and even cruise ship.
She shared her long-term plans for the company.
“Our vision is to maintain food safety standards while providing stable incomes to our contracted farmers. We want to expand our operations across the country, providing more jobs for workers,” she said.
The main challenges she says the company faces are tackling issues related to climate change – which has hampered farmers’ ability to cultivate their crops – and insufficient markets for some goods.
To partially mitigate the effects of climate change, the company provides mesh shade houses to several contracted farmers, in order to keep the heat off their crops. In the past, it has also provided solar panel to power irrigation pumps. This saves money, while contributing to environmental friendliness.
Lon Molika has been recognised for her contributions to the agricultural sector, receiving the Cambodian Young Entrepreneur Award (CYEA) in the field of inclusive business in October 2022.