Kaksethan Lors Thmey (KLT) is an agricultural service company that helps small-scale farmers in rural Cambodia improve their incomes and economic resilience. KLT evolved out of an agricultural program of iDE, an international NGO with 27 years in Cambodia specializing in market-based agricultural development. Beginning in 2005, a series of grant-funded projects enabled iDE to develop and test the KLT business model for selling affordable agricultural inputs (irrigation equipment, plastic mulch, trellis net, seed, fertilizer, etc.) backed up by competent agronomic support and market connections. To date, KLT has reached more than 80,000 small-scale farm households in Cambodia and has increased the extra income earned by KLT farmer clients from an average of USD 250 per year in 2013 to more than USD 760 in 2020.
KLT’s primary customers are small-scale commercial farmers who want to earn a decent living from their farms. KLT sells them an input package (customized bundle of products and services that enables farmers to grow high-value vegetables) and then purchases the produce for resale from these “contract farmers.” The high-value crops are aggregated and then sold to regional wholesalers and retailers and to premium buyers in Phnom Penh.
Several factors have led KLT to switch from a donor funded model to a social enterprise model: KLT’s product offering has been honed to the point where we now have an attractive solution to our farmer clients’ needs, and the KLT business model has been refined to the point where we have a clear pathway to enterprise profitability for reaching KLT’s commercial and social impact goals.
In January 2021, KLT spun off from iDE as an independent locally owned social enterprise. KLT’s focus has sharpened to target small-scale commercial farmers as its primary customers (with little to no focus on homestead farmers who grow primarily for home consumption). KLT will help farmers produce the diversity and quality of crops required by premium wholesaler and retailer markets, including meeting Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standards.
In the Accelerating Inclusive Markets for Smallholders (AIMS) project, KLT is a technical partner who has started to carry out the project activities since June 1, 2021 under the agreement with MINISTRY OF COMMERCE (MOC), Contract Number – AIMS/C1/C/2021/74. The main objective of this 19-month (June 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022) project is to promote sustainable vegetable production and market linkage for 12,000 smallholder farmers in the project target area of 18 provinces through the field activities of improvement of vegetable crop production techniques by providing technical training, setting up demonstration plots, organizing field day events and exchange visits.