On February 15, 2023, Olivier Cadic, a French Senator, visited Mai Savanh Lao in Vientiane, Laos. Mai Savanh Lao is a social enterprise that works with the French Research Institute for Development (IRD) and the French Development Agency (AFD) to provide nutritional solutions. During his visit, Olivier was accompanied by Daniel Boulom, CFDE, and Alain Perrier, 1st advisor.
Mai Savanh Lao started as a silk clothing company founded by Philippe Schmidt. However, the company has since expanded to include a range of products based on Sacha Inchi, also known as the “Inca peanut.” This vine, which grows in the tropical mountainous forests of the Peruvian Amazon, has adapted well to the climate in Laos. Sacha Inchi is known for its high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6.
Charles Milbled, who came to Mai Savanh Lao in 2009 for an internship to develop tea, welcomed the group. He has since returned to work part-time for the company on numerous occasions. The company now employs around 40 people, half of whom work on a farm in the southern part of the country.
In addition to tea, Mai Savanh Lao also produces nutritional bars for malnourished children. The company has a production line for these bars, which are designed to help combat malnutrition in Laos.
Olivier Cadic was impressed by the work being done at Mai Savanh Lao. He noted the importance of social enterprises in providing solutions to global issues such as malnutrition. Olivier also praised the collaboration between Mai Savanh Lao, IRD, and AFD, stating that it was a great example of how international partnerships can help solve global problems.
Overall, Olivier’s visit to Mai Savanh Lao highlighted the important work being done by social enterprises in Laos and the role that international collaboration can play in addressing global issues. It was an inspiring example of how businesses can have a positive impact on society while still remaining profitable.