The Ba'do Grains
The Ba'do Grains project creates an inclusive economy for rural grain farmers in Malaysia by connecting new market opportunities to farmers.
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.
Start-Up (a pilot that has just started operating)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
SRI Workshop - Farmers learning to level and grid their Paddy fields.
The Ba'do Grains
Farmer explaining the drying process of millet
Women farmers planting heirloom paddy.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
We aim to improve the income of smallholder grain farmers in rural Borneo. Smallholder farmers in Lawas have always fallen within the poverty bracket. They have limited access to market and face a high go-to-market cost. Consequently, these heirloom grains are at risk of extinction. By bridging the farmers to new and larger markets, both farmers and consumers gain access to an otherwise untapped resource. This directly increases their income and improves their socio-economic well being.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Our solution puts emphasis in 3 key areas:
1. We work directly with communities. At present, farmers face uncertain prices set by buyers in town. To ensure no potential exploitation by aggregators or middlemen, we maintain a floor price while adhering to a community-wide agreed pricing.
2. We create a homegrown brand - Langit, to market the smallholder farmers produce. With an identity, it allows us to create awareness and market these traditional produce to the mature urban consumers.
3. Langit commits a minimum of 30% of our profits to introduce community-appropriate technologies and capacity building of farmers. This is to reduce intense physical labour and to increase youth participation in farming.
By creating the above shared values, we are able to empower farmers economically and ensure the sustainability and value of their heirloom crop varieties.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
In the past 2 years, we have built Langit into a brand that markets good quality grains directly from smallholder farmers to consumers. We have multiple sales channels such as online, bazaars and strategic partnerships with institutions like gourmet restaurants, AirAsia Foundation and organic retailers. This directly translates to expanding market opportunities for farmers.
At inception, we worked with 5 farmers. Today, we work with 30 farmers and we look to grow further. Farmers receive fair returns for their produce and averagely gain an 18% in income by being a Langit supplier.
In 2017, we organized our first farmers' workshop - System of Rice Intensification Workshop. This knowledge sharing session has benefitted over 150 participants. Test plots of this method are currently underway. We actively match sustainable agriculture practices with traditional knowledge to reduce harmful inputs that affect both farmers and the environment they work in.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
The founding team kickstarted the initiative with a collective investment of USD5,600. In 2016, we received a seed funding grant of USD7,100 through an accelerator program. The collective funds have helped us to pilot our project by prototyping products, create a small network of farmer partners and support our operations.
In 2018, our annual budget is projected as follow:
1. Earned income - 70%
We will put majority of our efforts into identifying new and valuable markets for our products to penetrate. By focusing on achieving diversification in sales channels, we will be to head in the right direction of being a sustainable business.
2. Grants - 30%
Funds from grants can help us to accelerate plans in the pipeline and gain valuable insights from the programs.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
The four founders of Langit started off as community organisers. We still maintain a community first principle as an organisation. We walk hand in hand with our farmers, live in their community and go to their farms. Our conscious effort in capacity building and appropriate technologies directly benefits our farmers. Our access to remote rural farming communities and their unique produce sets us apart from our competitors.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
In 2015, we discovered that within the Lunbawang ethnic farming community in Malaysia lies an array of little known heirloom grains; local heirloom rice like the delicious Beras Adan. However, farmers always have excess that they are unable to sell for profit and these good tasting grains will end up benefitting their livestocks instead. Our "Aha!" moment came when we thought about bringing these grains back to the urban markets and let rice lovers sample these little known grains. That pushed us to attempt a first Christmas sale campaign to introduce the heirloom rice variety - Beras Adan. We sold out 30kg worth of rice online within 2 days. That was the spark that got us going.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Upon recommendation from others