Balancing the needs of small-scale farmers and their customers

Ensure small-scale farmers produce high volumes, high quality and healthy agricultural products for the new middle-class in Bangladesh

Photo of Gijs Herpers
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Written by

I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Just Farming

Year founded

2015

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 250 - 500

Organization type

  • For-profit

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Bangladesh

Headquarters location: City

Dhaka

Location(s) of impact

Bangladesh: Dhaka, Chuadanga, Patuakhali

Website

http://www.justfarmingbd.com

Twitter URL

https://twitter.com/just_farming

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

We are supporting safe food for everyone in Bangladesh. Mangoes, which form part of our core product portfolio, have been reported to apply harmful chemicals and formalin. This has created widespread panic and mistrust among customers in recent years. The major sectoral challenges, today, are to maintain food safety and quality and develop the capacity of agriculture to effectively respond to market signals. Inclusion of small-holders in the value chain on the output side is the other crucial factor to be addressed.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

The overall industry lacks behind significantly in the post-harvest processing services. Improved packaging, branding and storage facilities are critical in maximizing gains from/ taking full advantage of high-end market opportunities both within and outside Bangladesh. Just Farming steps in to provide professional services connecting institutional buyers, who demand volume and consistent supply, and small-scale farmers, who seek secure and stable income. We do this by providing a stable relationship, continuous training & innovation to farmers, guaranteed purchase and direct payments after harvest.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We work towards long-term relationships with farmers. This has an impact in the following ways: 1) there are year-on-year improvements in farming practices instead of incidental training provided by NGOs and government. This ensures farmers stay up to date and produce maximum yield and quality. 2) Our network is one of our most important assets: if our farmers produce more than the average farmer in Bangladesh, it will be more expensive for competitors to manage production as efficiently since they will have to work with more farmers to produce the same volumes. 3) Staff is always present to support farmers with advice on diseases.

Within its first year of operation, Just Farming has partnered with over 400 small-scale growers , whose household income and livelihoods have improved . Over the next five years, we aim to have sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships with 10000 farmers across a range of agricultural products.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

The initial investment comes from four business partners (35%) and a financial partner that provides working capital for procurement. The set-up of production is funded by grants (65%). Turnover was limited based on the sale of around 25 MT of mango, 22 MT of mungbean and 30 MT of potato. Currently we are updating our business plan and financial predictions for the next round of talks with investors. We have had interest from several investors over the last two years (Aavishkar, Incluvest, RSA Capital and a few others). This would allow us to scale production to financially sustainable levels and invest in infrastructure for post-harvest and logistics.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

There is no integrated, agricultural supply chain management in Bangladesh. The supply chain is divided into numerous actors, making it hard to maintain quality from start to finish. The produce is also handled by people that do not own the produce and have no incentive to maintain quality (e.g. transport or storage). We manage all of this to ensure we deliver what we promise.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

There have been many stories about unsafe food in Bangladesh over the last few years. When working in development projects we could see that because of a fragmented supply chain, incentives for quality and safety were small. Connections between farmers and customers are regularly subsidised by development projects as well. These relationships are all short-term and disintegrate after the project when farmers do not receive any more support or innovations.

With four partners (1 from the Netherlands, 3 from Bangladesh) we felt this could be addressed by more integration and efficient management of the thousands of small-scale farmers in Bangladesh. After working with each other for several years we decided to quit or jobs and give this idea a go!

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 50%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 50%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 0%

2. Innovation

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Social and/or Environmental Impact

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

4. Financial sustainability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

5. Potential to Scale / Replicability

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 50%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 50%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

6. Organizational Leadership

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 50%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

7. Potential for Creating Shared Value

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 50%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 50%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Arianna

I really like your approach: how you focus on nurturing your relationship with the farmers, how you make them active part of the process, and the value you place on your network. Good luck with your application and with the next round of talks with investors!