December 06, 2016

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Creating Big Impacts with Small Farmers

Vietnam-based Ecofarm joins the Business Call to Action with a pledge to improve the incomes of small-scale chili farmers

Submitted by: Business Call to Action

Categories: Social Entrepreneurship, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Nov 25, 2016 – 05:06 PM EST

 

HANOI, Vietnam, Nov. 25 /CSRwire/ - Ecology Farming Corporation (Ecofarm) has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) by pledging to transfer organic farming methodology to 5,000 Vietnamese chili farmers through the establishment of 100 demonstration farms by 2020 – helping them to improve their yields by 50 percent in just five years.

Launched in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. It is supported by several international organizations and hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Although Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, the agricultural sector has struggled to keep pace with the country’s growth. Farmers’ lack of productivity has been exacerbated by their overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which contaminate the soil and pollute ground water and rivers. In addition, the country is extremely susceptible to the impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, cyclones, and rising sea levels. As a result, rural communities lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of poverty and food insecurity.

Established in 2007, Ecofarm has a mission to increase agricultural sustainability in Vietman while building farmers’ resilience to changing weather patterns. With farming sites around the country, the company focuses on local products that are cultivated in an environmentally sustainable manner. In the process, Ecofarm is bringing climate-smart organic agriculture practices to improve incomes and raise living standards.

In addition to operating its own greenhouses to provide hotels and the tourism industry with high-quality produce, Ecofarm builds the capacities of small-scale local farmers to produce high-quality food crops using sustainable practices and organic biofertilizer. The company is currently setting up a production facility that will turn biomass (agricultural waste) into heat energy and biochar (a natural soil enhancer), enriching soils while reducing air pollution. Ecofarm will provide this fertilizer to farmers at average market prices (comparable to frequently used non-organic chemical fertilizers) and will in turn provide farmers with fair prices for their organic and sustainably grown produce.  

“Vietnam’s predominant chili variety is well sought-after by traders and processors, so it has great potential to improve farmers’ livelihoods, said Nguyen Hong Quang, Ecofarm’s CEO. “In Dong Thap Province – one of Vietnam’s primary chili-growing regions – we are working closely with farmers to improve their productivity and collaborating with local authorities to assist farmers in adopting organic approaches to chili production.”

Leveraging its established brand, Ecofarm’s inclusive BCtA initiative is introducing organic farming to 5,000 small-scale chili farmers, transferring skills and good agricultural practices as well as educating farmers about the benefits of bio-fertilizer. Through a partnership with local government, the company is identifying 100 demonstration farms for introducing local farmers to organic farming, including the use of organic plant protection, crop rotation and soil preparation solutions.

“In addition to the environmental impacts of Ecofarm’s work, the company is producing clear social impacts,” said Paula Peleaz, BCtA Programme Manager. “Transferring knowledge about sustainable agriculture and the use of organic fertilizer is not only helping Vietnam’s small farmers to produce more abundant crops, it is ensuring the long-term sustainability and prosperity of Vietnam’s rural communities.”

As a result of its inclusive initiative, Ecofarm estimates that participating chili farmers will be able to increase their yields by 50 percent. This translates into an increase of at least US$1,000 each year for some of Vietnam’s poorest farmers who depend on chili farming for their livelihoods. In the process, Ecofarm’s efforts are protecting soil and water, reducing harmful emissions and contributing to more resilient food production in Vietnam.

For further information: 
Business Call to Action: Tatiana Bessarabova at tatiana.bessarabova@undp.org
Ecofarm: Nguyen Hai My at haimy.nguyen.vn@gmail.com

Membership in the Business Call to Action does not constitute a partnership with its funding and programme partners, UNDP or any UN agency.

About the Business Call to Action (BCtA): Launched at the United Nations in 2008, the Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that offer the potential for both commercial success and development impact. BCtA is a unique multilateral alliance between key donor governments including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign AffairsSwedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)UK Department for International DevelopmentUS Agency for International Development, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Finland, and the United Nations Development Programme — which hosts the secretariat. For more information, please visit www.businesscalltoaction.org or on Twitter at @BCtAInitiative.

About Ecofarm: Ecology Farming Corporation (Ecofarm) was established in 2007 to increase agricultural sustainability and adaptability to changing climates in Vietnam. In addition to the company’s several farming sites around the country, it contracts directly with many small farmers, strengthening their capacity to increase crop production through sustainable farming methods and organic fertilizers. Through its work with farmers and partner companies, Ecofarm focuses on promoting local products, protecting the environment, introducing enhanced manufacturing techniques and improving local living standards. Currently, the company has 100 full-time employees and its provincial-level network of partners works with 2,000 smallholder farmer producers. Ecofarm’s and its member companies produce high-quality, bio-fertilizer-based food crops for sale on the market, for agricultural processing and for local restaurants and hotels.

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