Signatures of Asia: creating a win-win model through a joint venture in the organic palm sugar industry
Signatures of Asia (SoA) was founded in 2007 and is today not only one of the top ten organic rice and sugar exporters in Cambodia, but also the first company in the country to implement an inclusive business that encourage farmers and buyers to form part of a joint venture in the organic palm sugar industry. It was the will to innovate their business model that led them to apply for Innovation Against Poverty (IAP) Challenge Fund.
“Building a sustainable inclusive supply chain is about building partnerships with producers and buyers and work together in a win-win model”, says Huy Kosal, Business Manager at SoA.
In order to export palm sugar, SoA needs to comply with international quality standards. As such, Kosal and his colleagues collaborates with the supply side by working in partnership with agricultural cooperatives in two provinces in Cambodia. By investing in a supply processing facility and capacity building in quality standards, women inclusion and environmental sustainability for cooperatives, they ensure that the organic palm sugar produced is of high quality and ready for export markets. Besides the capacity building, SoA also provides support on finance via revolving fund to ensure that AC has enough materials and budgets to advance to its members.
With this business model, SoA has successfully managed to create benefits for all value chain stakeholders; from smallholder farmers on the ground to big international buyers in Europe. By involving buyers and farmers as shareholders in the business, it will secure supply power, improve the local economies, and contribute to increased trust among value chain actors, while also providing much-needed input and human capital for the new venture. By sustaining the business, the ambition is to increase social, economic and environmental impact for all.