Homegrown distribution start-up Azaylla (Cambodia) Co Ltd has secured pre-series A funding from Insitor Impact Asia Fund II to grow its network with smallholder farmers and cooperatives across the country to source and supply fresh produce.

The Phnom Penh-based agritech firm said the new funding (amount not mentioned) would help expand its “sustainable and socially-responsible network” via technology to supply local products to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and caterers.

Currently, Cambodia imports around 70 per cent of its fresh produce from neighbouring countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

Azaylla supports the domestic market by working directly with farmers to improve crop quality, increase yield, and ensure access to credit.

Azaylla CEO and board chairman Parth Borkotoky told The Post on August 2 that the fund would expand its agri-business network, including developing an online business-to-business (B2B) platform, making it easier for food industry professionals to buy local products.

Incorporating consumer insight, market data and curation, the platform would provide consistent pricing and up-to-the-minute availability.

“Through our network and online platform, we would help farmers increase their customer base to maximise returns on their products,” Borkotoky said.

Meanwhile, country director Bradley Kopsick of impact investor Insitor Cambodia, which is part of Singapore-based fund manager Insitor Partners, said agriculture continues to play a crucial role in the development of Cambodia’s economy.

“Azaylla works closely with farmers to address a range of day-to-day challenges that they face, including uncertain market demands and yields that lag behind neighbouring countries,” said Kopsick.

Azaylla is Insitor Partners’ ninth investment portfolio in Cambodia. Founded in Phnom Penh in 2009, Insitor Cambodia backs early-stage entrepreneurs to build life-changing solutions for low-income customers in developing Asia.

The fund’s 29 investments have impacted more than 50 million low-income customers in the region.

Research by the Centre for Policy Studies showed that 200 to 400 tonnes of vegetables are imported daily from Cambodia’s neighbours. It also stated that between $150 million and $250 million is spent annually on vegetable imports from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

In the first half of 2022, the export of agricultural products to 65 countries and territories totalled more than five million tonnes, representing an increase of 13.05 per cent compared to 4.5 million tonnes in the same period in 2021.

The total value of exports (price unit based on exporters’ invoices) amounted to nearly $2.2 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.