10.02.2020 - Senghorng Tout is the Enterprise Development and Marketing Facilitator of iDE’s Cambodia Agribusiness Development Facility. He’s tasked with strengthening the Melon Association of Siem Reap Meanchey (MASC).
That involves everything from improving market access to helping develop growers’ business, ﬁnance and marketing skills, to personal coaching of farmers to become more sustainable. His background is in animal science and veterinary medicine and he holds a Masters degree in animal production, hygiene, quality and environment from François Rabelais, France.
Before his involvement with the Melon Association, Senghorng worked with crop and livestock farmers to grow their businesses. In his iDE role he’s been working with VSA volunteer Clint Smythe. Clint’s a longtime horticulturalist and exporter with immense experience with produce marketing and exports as well as on the ground agricultural skills.
Senghorng says working with VSA has helped the association make real improvements for growers both on the farm and in the market. “[We’ve been] reaching our target sale of 30 tons a month. Our farmers feel happier with our melon association since we got so much good advice and recommendations from Clint regarding the proper way to run the association business as well as individual farm management matters.
“He brought good solutions to the melon association to deal with the shortage of working capital which has been a barrier for the association getting more supply and members for nearly two years.
“We join together to meet upscale market actors such as LUCKY, MAKRO, AEON supermarket and other wholesalers/distributors to keep in touch and make some possible changes on the business relationship, especially we try more and more formal contract with those buyers. As a result, we did about 4 to 5 new supply contracts in Phnom Penh and justified some contract articles associated to payment terms and parties responsibilities.” Senghorng speaks warmly of the relationship with VSA. “I’ve noticed the VSA volunteers are openminded and friendly people and willing to provide as much support as they can. Moreover, VSA sends good candidates that we like and have the right background for what we want.”
And there are more big steps ahead for the industry that Senghorng wants to work with VSA to achieve. “We want to professionalise our created association and aggregation points to be more and more operational in regards to production, supply planning and branding. Alongside that we want institutionalisation of our farmer group to an appropriate legal form in accordance with their goal, objective and business venture such as a social enterprise and/or company. And also more exploring on the new crop trials and matching the current market demand...” Senghorng’s list keeps getting longer as he makes it clear there’s a strong vision for a better future that VSA can be a part of building.