Support the Key to Success: Tea Company Founder

PHNOM PENH - Producers strive to research and produce good products but it is hard to succeed without government support, says Cheang Bora, owner of Ra Kimlong Elephant Brand Tea.

“We are only artisans, it is very difficult for us to have laboratories to examine our products,” Bora said.

“There are also many complicated process and export-import customs duties, customs law-related documents of our country and importing countries.”

It was a challenge without assistance from ministries and the government to minimize the bureaucracy and find a market for products.

Bora has built up his business from scratch over 10 years.

 “There are many obstacles because we started from such a small scale. We had to study and find a market for the product on our own,” he said.

“We need to have enough capital and learn about standard packaging processes, hygiene and machinery to ensure the best quality and support from our local customers.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis, traditional sales have shifted rapidly to digital sales, also known as e-commerce. Selling supplies online is no longer a concern but supplying foreign markets is a challenge for producers like Bora.

The problem for all sellers is the high shipping cost of a retail package, which Bora said can double or triple the cost of the product because of the overseas delivery services.

Bora, 40, an information technology graduate, described his journey starting the Ra Kimlong company. He spent time in Vietnam during his training in IT in that country studying traditional tea making.

He also studied machinery in China because to keep up with demands, tea processing has to be mass produced.

Ra Kimlong Company sells various products, such as Soursop fruit tea, lemongrass and ginger tea, turmeric tea, Mori tea, and Mori-Choco chip cookies. Bora said these products are good for consumers’ health.

“I make products that focus on the health of consumers. We have researched fruits and vegetables that are good for our health and process them into tea that can be drunk and stored for a long time,” he said.

“They can drink these types of tea to break down fat and relax their arteries.”

Bora’s main goal is to be able to export his products to international markets. This way, he can  help farmers with another source of income for their families and support their children’s education.

Bora does not advise entrepreneurs to work in this field for quick profits.  It is time-consuming and capital intensive and demands high patience and skills in branding.

He said it took him over 10 years to develop his product brands and five more to focus on exports.

Morokort Kheav contributed to this story.

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