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Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 12, 2003
— HRH Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk of Cambodia cut the ribbon at this week’s launch of Cambodia’s first large-scale soy milk plant, Hagar Soya Company Limited. This innovative new social enterprise was established by the Swiss nongovernmental organization Hagar with financing from IFC plus management support from IFC’s regional SME program, the Mekong Private Sector Development Facility.
Recognized as one of Cambodia’s most effective grassroots organizations for fighting poverty since 1994, Hagar has helped some 100,000 people through its shelter, foster homes, farming communities, rural schools, installation of household water filters, counseling, literacy and health education and small businesses. The $1.2 million factory increases its Hagar Soya enterprise’s capacity to produce soy milk from 500 to 12,000 liters per day and expands the NGO-sponsored enteprise’s workforce of formerly destitute women. At the same time the project greatly raises the amount of soybeans purchased from small scale farmers in rural Cambodia and provides dividends to fund Hagar’s on-going development programs.
, is nutritious, affordable, has a long shelf life, and tastes good – all important in helping local children increase their protein intake in a country with very high malnutrition rates. Hagar Soya’s financing comes from IFC and others that include SDC of Switzerland, OPEC, the government of the Netherlands and Canton Zug in Switzerland. MPDF’s support included using IFC’s worldwide network of consultants to find experts to design the plant and source food processing and other technology. MPDF also helped Hagar Soya secure financing, including $450,000 in equity from IFC.
In her speech at the Dec. 9 inauguration the Queen thanked all that provided financial support to Hagar Soya. “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the government of Switzerland, Swiss donors, the International Finance Corporation, and other international donors who have supported Hagar in providing warm shelter to poor and vulnerable women and children. Now, Hagar has been able to set up a modern soy milk plant to provide honorable jobs and income that will allow those women to support themselves.”
“The soybeans, which are the factory’s major raw material, will all be locally grown, thereby creating a new market for rural farmers.” added Suy Sem, Cambodian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy. “Providing jobs for rural people is very important as this will reduce the flow of people to the city and ensure economic stability..”
In his speech, Mr. Deepak Khanna, IFC’s Country Manager for Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR congratulated Hagar Soya for providing a model that other NGOs could follow. “Research conducted by IFC’s Mekong Private Sector Development Facility in 2002 found that of 700 national and international NGOs in Cambodia, some 200 have income generation projects. With a little help, a number of these could become sustainable businesses that create jobs and also generate profits to help fund NGO programs.”
Hagar Soya is the second formally-registered business set up by Hagar. In 2001, also with help from MPDF, Hagar turned its silk products workshop into Hagar Design Limited, company with 45 employees that produces elegant silk handbags and home décor items for high-end consumers in Europe. This enterprise is now self-sustaining, and like Hagar Soya, approximately half the workers are former residents of Hagar’s shelter or foster homes. MPDF’s assistance to Hagar Design included helping HDL secure grants to buy industrial sewing machines and pay for expert design and marketing advice. As with HDL.
“This is a model that can be replicated by NGOs worldwide. Because of the successful commercialization of NGO enterprises in Cambodia, MPDF and IFC are documenting these in order to transfer the approach to IFC’s other SME Facilities elsewhere in the developing world,” IFC’s Khanna added.
MPDF is a multidonor facility managed by IFC. The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $16.7 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
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