Past Programmes


Building the dairy industry in Myanmar

Myanmar, 1 – 12 September 2014

For its first programme in Myanmar, GIFT partnered with Myanmar Dairy Nutrition, a subsidiary of Yoma Group – one of the country’s leading conglomerates and the only Burmese company listed outside the country. The field project was focused on strengthening the country’s nascent dairy sector.

The Burmese dairy industry is currently characterised by poor milk quality and low yields produced predominantly by smallholder farmers ill-equipped to overcome these challenges. To meet the growing demand, in 2013 Myanmar imported US$40 million worth of dairy products including milk in powdered and UHT form from Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand and other countries. A growing middle class, increasing urbanisation and the promotion of school milk programmes are all contributing to a growth in consumption of milk.

In September 2014 a group of 26 managers from ORIX Corporation and its subsidiaries and 5 managers from Yoma, representing 19 nationalities, joined the Global Leaders Programme (GLP) in Hong Kong and Yangon. Participants produced a business plan for MDN to bridge the gap between milk supply and demand by establishing local production and processing capabilities and working closely with smallholder farmers to strengthen the supply chain. The proposed business model included an operational plan for a “Parent Farm”, a Smallholder Farmer Supply Initiative to improve the quality and quantity of smallholder production which considers shareholding for key suppliers and a phased approach culminating in a diversification of products in addition to fresh milk and such as yogurt, ice cream and other dairy goods.

For a summary of the programme check out the programme Round-Up and Photo Story.


During the experiential component of the 36th Global Leaders Programme (GLP) participants worked closely with Gansu Modern Forage (GMF), a leading Chinese producer, processor and merchant of alfalfa products for the domestic Chinese animal feed and animal husbandry markets.

GMF was established in 2009 by one of the founding shareholders of China’s top dairy company Mengniu and last year achieved sales of over RMB100 million. A 25 year veteran of the dairy industry, GMF founder and chairman Zhang Yuping has, since the company’s inception, worked closely with alfalfa farmers, collectors and agricultural co-ops as well as leading national research bodies to improve the quality and quantity of alfalfa produced locally. GMF’s operational hub and alfalfa pellet plant is in Dingxi Prefecture, one of the nations least developed areas situated 100km from the Gansu provincial capital Lanzhou.

Over the course of the GLP the participant group who came from a variety of national and professional backgrounds including companies and organisations such as HSBC, ORIX Corporation, Indonesian conglomerate Astra International, German think tank the Heinrich Boell Foundation and Harvard University, developed recommendations for the company to strengthen its supply chain and scale up its production to achieve sales of RMB1.3 Billion in the coming five years.

For a summary of the programme check out the programme Round-Up. Download the Business Plan in English and Chinese.


Orix Corporation Logo         


99% of the 4 million new-born infants who die every year do so in the developing world. The vast majority of these deaths are the result of easily treatable diseases such as infant respiratory distress or jaundice. Unfortunately, the countries that are most in need of life saving neonatal equipment are also the countries least able to afford it.

Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) is a Vietnamese medical equipment manufacturer set up in 2003 to address this very problem. The social enterprise adapts Western medical technology for neonatal care by making the devices more affordable, adapted to local contexts and infrastructures, durable and easy-to-use. To date, most of MTTS’ sales have been channelled through NGO East Meets West’s (EMW) Breath of Life programme.

GIFT is pleased to have partnered with MTTS and EMW for its 35th Global Leaders Programme in Hong Kong and Hanoi, that brought together 22 participants from the civil, public and private sectors. The group made recommendations to MTTS to scale-up its business and to be less dependent on grants and donations by achieving financial sustainability. The proposal includes recommendations to expand the company’s operations outside of Vietnam, to move the base of production to the Philippines where manufacturing costs are lower, to revamp the sales and marketing strategy, and to strengthen MTTS’ strategic partnerships to support with business growth.                                  


The Cambodian economy is heavily dependent on rice farming, which accounts for nearly 1/3 of its total agricultural production and utilises 80 percent of cultivated land. In 2012, only 200,000 tons of paddy, out of 9.3 million tons produced, were officially exported.

Cambodian rice was awarded Best Rice of the Year in 2012 and 2013 at the Rice Trader World Rice Conference. There is high potential for surplus paddy to be processed into quality milled rice for export which would increase the value of harvests to farmers and to contribute to the government’s target: to increase rice exports to 1 million tons by 2015.

The current fragmented rice value chain encourages informal exports of unprocessed paddy to Vietnam and Thailand and a loss of value for the economy. Traditional methods of drying and storage prevent farmers from selling their produce at a higher price during the off season when most millers have 30-40 percent idle capacity. A more consistent supply of quality paddy is needed throughout the year.

To address these issues, 25 executives from BASF and from 17 nationalities travelled to Phnom Penh and Battambang to explore the opportunities to strengthen the post-harvest value chain in the rice sector in Cambodia. After meeting key stakeholders, a compelling new social business was proposed to provide farming communities with professional post-harvest services, quality agricultural inputs and training.

This offers an attractive and timely opportunity for investors with an interest in agriculture and wishing to support financially viable businesses with far-reaching social impacts. The new business is projected to yield an attractive return on investment and benefit farming communities and the Cambodian economy.

For a more detailed summery of the business plan, please click here.


Indonesia is a vast country of more than 17,000 islands and home to over 250 million people. Its geography and disparately located population present significant challenges to the government as it seeks to ensure that all citizens enjoy the benefits of economic growth rates that are the envy of most western nations. Not least of these is the provision of reliable and affordable electricity. In efforts to meet this challenge, and to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, the government is committed to increasing the share of renewable energy to 25 per cent of primary energy supply by 2025. As of 2010 renewable energy, including hydropower still made up only 6.9 per cent of the nation’s energy mix.

Over 70 million Indonesians (more than the population of the United Kingdom) do not have access to a consistent electricity supply. Current energy business models rarely result in investments in rural small-scale renewable energy production because of high perceived risk and the difficulty of identifying and developing new projects.

To overcome these challenges participants on GIFT’s 33rd Global Leaders Programme developed a new business model which reduces risk through co-ownership with communities and leverages award-winning NGO IBEKA’s healthy pipeline of projects around the country – the new company, NusaTerang, also takes a groundbreaking approach to factoring in the true cost of valuable natural resources by paying for their eco-system services.



Currently the gap between electricity supply and demand in Cambodia is significant. The country relies heavily on imported electricity, diesel and other fossil fuels.. To fulfill the rapidly growing demand for electricity, many are looking at alternative renewable energy solutions, including biomass power generation. 

As an agriculture-led economy and a major rice producing country in Asia, Cambodia produced 9 million tons of paddy rice in 2012. The total power generation potential from rice husks alone – a byproduct of the milling process– is well beyond the country’s current need. However much of the paddy is taken to neighbouring countries through unregulated channels due to inefficient domestic processing and logistics systems. The Cambodian government aims to strengthen the domestic production and processing capacity and to export 1 million tons of milled rice by 2015.

During the 2nd Global Leaders Programme (GLP) customised for Japan-based ORIX Corporation, 26 senior executives from Tokyo and global subsidiaries examined the potential opportunities for power generation from rice husks in Cambodia.

The local partner for the GLP was SOMA Group, one of Cambodia’s leading conglomerates with a strong focus of the country’s development. SOMA Energy, one of the group’s subsidiaries, has acquired the technology to convert rice husk to electricity in the form of gasification units from India-based Ankur and two of GE’s iconic Waukesha gas engines that have been retooled to run on biogas.

After visiting rice mills and potential project sites, meeting with mill owners, electricity distributors and community members, the GLP team proposed three distinct business models and one strong recommendation for SOMA Group to consider. For a more detailed summary of the programme check out the Round-Up.