WoT-Natural Khmer Moringa Taps Into Health Benefits of Moringa

Health innovator award-winning WoT-Natural Khmer Moringa is providing Cambodians with a health boost, while supporting the livelihoods of the Kingdom’s farmers, reducing carbon emissions and driving economic growth in communities

PHNOM PENH, Moringa health supplement startup, WoT-Natural Khmer Moringa, is providing tens of thousands of Cambodians with a daily health boost while supporting the local farmers. And the award-winning business has unveiled grand plans to expand its reach, providing more health benefits – and employment – countrywide.

The seeds for the homegrown startup were first planted in 2011 when founder, Ung Vanna, started researching remedies for her mother’s spine problems that were caused by a lack of calcium. This formed the start of her vision to create a healthier Cambodia.

The family had already exhausted multiple avenues that spanned both traditional and modern medicine, but none delivered lasting results. That was until Vanna came across moringa, which has been used in India for more than 2,000 years due to the nutritious tree’s ability to prevent and cure more than 300 diseases. This has been scientifically proven by WHO.

Vanna set about experimenting with various moringa recipes, and concocted a winning formula that enabled her mother to live until the ripe age of 86. “My grandmother had suffered for so long and we had tried so many different medicines that when we discovered moringa, it was like a miracle cure,” said Thakvika Thach, managing director of WoT-Natural Khmer Moringa and Vanna’s youngest son.

Thakvika has now taken over the reins from his mother after spending several years honing his skills in various fields, from the arts and volunteering to being a sound technician. And he has pledged to build on his mother’s legacy by improving and developing the product to further improve people’s health.

“I’m committed to creating a better workflow and modernising the system to maximise productivity and the growth of everyone within the company and those who are in collaboration with us,” Thakvika said.

“My mother wanted to start the company because of the medicinal benefits that moringa has, plus her traditional medicine skills which she acquired several years before she passed. I’m looking forward to making her vision come true.”

Thakvika added that the company is currently funding the launching of a dedicated research and development department to explore new products to further benefit the health of customers.

“We launched WoT with the aim of helping people who suffer from lack of supplements, similar to our case, to make sure they can be healthy and live long happy lives,” Thakvika said, noting that moringa trees also come with environmental benefits as they reduce carbon emissions from the atmosphere; 20 times more than average.

“This means moringa benefits people and the environment as a whole. By sourcing moringa and other ingredients from local farmers, we’re also helping to drive economic growth in communities.”

Moringa, a tree predominantly found in North India, has been scientifically proven to deliver a wealth of health benefits. It is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including protein, vitamins A, B6 and C, iron and magnesium. It is also rich in antioxidants, and can help to reduce high blood pressure and inflammation, while lowering cholesterol.

Since WoT’s launch in 2011, it has gone on to provide at least 30,000 people nationwide with a natural health kick. It has also developed 10 different products, ranging from powders and tablets to capsules and oils, while establishing 109 partners in the province and 44 in Phnom Penh.

Organically certified and produced locally using local ingredients, WoT is a truly homegrown family business that is also helping to support Cambodian farmers and producers.

“We see ourselves as a social business,” said Thakvika. “We put people over profit, and not only pride ourselves in helping keep Cambodians healthy, we take great pride in being able to support the livelihoods of our country’s farming community.”

In addition, WoT also plans to revive a live radio podcast that delivers educational content on well-being and moringa’s benefit, with a segment where the public can call in to discuss their health problems. WoT also carries out free health consultations in rural communities.

WoT’s blossoming success story caught the eyes of judges at the recent Lafiya Innovators 2023, when it fought off fierce competition to be crowned the winner of the health incubation program. It walked away with 10,000 Swiss francs (approximately $11,000) to kick-start an exposure campaign and enter new markets. By 2025, WoT aims to grow its annual revenue by 13 percent. This growth will be achieved by heavily targeting health-conscious customers.

The six-month startup incubation program by Impact Hub Phnom Penh supports and accelerates early operational startups focused on health-related problems. In addition, it seeks to strengthen the local health ecosystem and health entrepreneurship capacity by engaging a strong community of health stakeholders.

“While we have achieved a lot since launching the business in 2011, this is only the beginning of our story. We want to expand WoT’s reach to ensure more Cambodians can reap the health benefits, while uplifting the livelihoods of more Cambodian farmers,” Thakvika said.

Thakvika said the journey so far has taught him principles that have helped himself, the company and its employees thrive. “Curiosity is important. I’m always keen to learn new things, and moringa keeps on surprising me the more that I research into it. The thirst of gaining more knowledge and wisdom to improve my own quality of life and others around me never ceases.”

In addition, he believes listening and clear communication are skills that are key to running a successful business and ensuring those around you thrive. “Every day at WoT, we grow as individuals, as a team, and as a company. And together we strive to pass on this positivity to our customers.”


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