Cambodia Investment Review

Cambodian Tech Enterprises Pioneer Digital Transformation of Agriculture Supply Chain

Cambodian Tech Enterprises Pioneer Digital Transformation of Agriculture Supply Chain

Vijian Paramasivam 

Cambodian technology firms are leading the way in the digital modernization of the country’s agricultural supply chain. This shift was the focus of the recent seminar “Digitalisation of Agri-Supply Chain”, organized by the International Business Chamber in Cambodia.

The event emphasized the potential for digital technologies to revolutionize Cambodia’s vital agricultural sector, transforming it into a sustainable, competitive industry. However, challenges such as unreliable data from farmers and poor internet connectivity in rural areas have been identified as continuing roadblocks to this digital transformation.

IBC’s Digitalisation of Agri-Supply Chain Hosted at Olympia City Hotel by Dara on June, 21 2023.

Tomas Pokorny, the founder of Brixie Group, stressed the importance of digitalization and transparency to the seminar attendees. “Without digitalization and transparency, we are erecting more barriers between us and potential investments. Cambodia needs international investments and it will secure them. But the companies that are most transparent, digitalized, and visible will be the most attractive,” Pokorny said. 

Read more: Leading FinTech players in Cambodia raise $500K for digital asset management platform Brixie

Innovative local companies are already harnessing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data, drones, and remote sensing. The goal is to disseminate market information, finance farmers, and provide customers with fresh products. Firms such as AMK Microfinance Institution Plc, Azaylla (Cambodia), Agribuddy Cambodia, and Boost Capital (Cambodia) are pioneering this digital overhaul of the traditionally driven agricultural supply chain. 

A digital ecosystem that benefits the agricultural sector

These efforts are shaping a digital ecosystem that benefits the agricultural sector, facilitating connections between farmers, financiers, commodity buyers, agri advisory services, farm input suppliers, and logistics players. The result is an increase in farm efficiency, faster delivery of farm produce, swifter capital movement, improved living conditions for farmers, and reinforced food security. 

Read more: Investment flow continues to Cambodia’s agri-tech sector

H.E San Vanty, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, underscored the role of advanced Industry 4.0 technologies. “These are critical for enhancing productivity, slashing production costs, boosting export competitiveness, and maximizing farmers’ profits, all while ensuring food security and affordable prices for consumers,” Vanty explained. 

The increased demand for adherence to international standards such as the ESG (environment, social, and governance) framework, sustainable farming practices, pesticide usage, and CO2 emissions is another driver of this digital shift. Experts agree that digitalization can satisfy the increasingly stringent requirements of urban consumers who want to trace the origin of their food and confirm it was produced ethically and environmentally. 

IBC’s Digitalisation of Agri-Supply Chain Hosted at Olympia City Hotel by Dara on June, 21 2023.

A significant step in this direction is the AMK TONLESAP App and Tonlesap seller app, introduced in 2019, which connects input suppliers, farmers, and direct buyers. Sok Sireirath, an agronomist from AMK Microfinance, explained: “These app, available for everyone and free of charge. , offers a one-stop solution for farmers to enhance their farming techniques, marketing and productivity, replacing the need for multiple apps. Currently, about 44,000 users are benefiting from this service.”

In the financial sphere, Boost Capital is supporting banks in providing accessible financing to farmers, many of whom traditionally lack access to formal credit. Boost Capital’s senior manager, Porhour Ly, noted: “Our technology enables banks to effectively work with agri-suppliers by reducing the op-ex, providing better customer experience and being inclusive.” 

Utilizing data to understand consumer trends

Elsewhere, Azaylla Cambodia has established a sustainable and socially responsible agri-business supply chain that benefits farmers, producers, and consumers alike. Azaylla’s founder, Parth Borkotoky, elaborated: “Our digitalized supply chain is extremely efficient, allowing us to handle hundreds of daily orders and ensure product delivery. Digitalization has made this efficiency possible.”

Read more: IBC collaborates with Cambodia Logistics Association to strengthen supply chains

Meanwhile, the data collected by these digital initiatives are being utilized to monitor the price trends of farm products, consumer demand patterns, and even the origin of crops. Borkotoky highlighted the value of this data: “These insights assist in product pricing and understanding market demand. With digitalization, we have developed traceability that can identify which farmer is growing what crop.”

IBC’s Digitalisation of Agri-Supply Chain Hosted at Olympia City Hotel by Dara on June, 21 2023.

However, the rapid advancement of technology may present a challenge for Cambodia’s largely older generation of farmers. As Secretary Vanty pointed out, “We need to remember our farmers. Most are from an older generation and technology is improving quickly. We need the younger generation to join us.” Regardless, the government is prepared to work with private enterprises to bring about the digital transformation of farming. 

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