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
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.
Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Bangladesh: Dhaka, Chuadanga, Patuakhali
The first batch of our mangoes for delivery to customers in Dhaka.
Just Farming provides continuous support to small-scale farmers through training, field inspections and innovation. The picture shows an inspection of a pilot with new potato varieties.
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?