Battambang starch factory
In 2007 Lom Orng trained 3,000 families in Samphov Loun district, Battambang province, to grow cassava root.
With generous funding from the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, and investment from Cambodian businesspeople, we then built a nearby factory to make starch from the cassava. The factory now produces 1,150 metric tonnes of starch per month.
As a result:
- 3,000 previously poor local families now have a secure incomes (a total population of 15,000).
- Factory profits of $12,000 per month run Lom Orng's Battambang vocational training centre and Phnom Penh HQ.
- The Battambang training centre produces hundreds of graduates per year, all educated in health, sanitation, and basic literacy.
- Thousands of locals no longer have to make the dangerous trip across the nearby Thai border (land mines, people trafficking, labour exploitation) to make a living.
- The factory itself employs 55 locals, including numerous land mine victims.
Although we owe our success to our generous international donors, Lom Orng's ultimate goal is financial sustainability. We want in time to generate all our own income, through commercial enterprises - rather than depending on donors forever.
The Battambang starch factory is a big step toward that goal.
Our business plan specified that the factory would double its plant, and thus its production, once it had established its viability. (Floorspace and machine slots were set aside for this.) Now we are negotiating with foreign investors to invest in the plant, to expand it.
Lom Orng is also actively studying becoming a cassava grower, to flatten out the secondary producer's more dramatic price fluctuations.
[See factory photos here]