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This week Phnom Penh will play host to The World Economic Forum on ASEAN for the first time. Visitors made up of influential leaders from politics and business across the globe will focus on a number of topics including youth and technology.

When speaking about the conference last year, the World Economic Forum managing director Philipp Rosler said: “Cambodia has a compelling story to tell around the challenges and opportunities of rapid economic development in the 21st century, which will make next year’s ASEAN meeting a very special one.”

At Project Alba we think it’s a good step that Cambodia is attracting interest as a place for growth and opportunity and we welcome business investment to support the population.

We think it’s vital that there is focus on youth and technology in Cambodia for the ongoing success of the country but we also realise that it is important for investors to factor the older generation and the agricultural industry in any plans for investment.

More than 70 per cent of Cambodians rely on agriculture for their income and it accounts for 33 per cent of the GDP. Whilst we see the younger generation are migrating towards the cities, there is still opportunity in rural area. Project Alba is helping farmers to seize on this opportunity but we would urge businesses, governments and NGOs to invest too.

We have been working in Cambodia since 2011 to innovate contract farming for low income farmers.

We are helping farmers to diversify their crops by investing in farmers’ irrigation systems and we advise farmers on cultural practice, soil fertility management and pest control. We co-plan production of vegetables according to market demand, guarantee to farmers to buy all their produce at prefixed price. Then we sell produce to wholesalers.

By working with us farmers can more than double their income. Some farmers have increased their income from $800 per year to $2,500. Not only this, but we are also bringing healthy vegetables to market, where previously this did not exist. By 2020 we are aiming to reach 10,000 farmers in Cambodia and also develop export channels for new crops.

As Cambodia opens, exports opportunities could allow farmers to improve their standards and even improve the speed at which the standards on local markets, which suffer from contamination will also improve. This can only be a good thing for the country.

We look forward to hearing the outcomes of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN and the future business opportunities in Cambodia.

Investment in Project Alba can help us reach new farmers and develop new sales channels.

If you are interested in hearing more about investment opportunities email contact@projet-alba.com

Guillaume Virag, 08th May 2017