Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for high-quality, sustainably grown produce, but small farmers in East Asia and the Pacific – many of them women – lack know-how in sustainable farming and access to international markets to take advantage of this demand.
Across the region, IFC has partnered with large international buyers, like the ECOM Coffee Group, for a win-win strategy that helps these farmers improve crop quality and guarantees buyers a dependable source of sustainably grown commodities. Together with ECOM, we have set up farmer training centers in major coffee-growing countries,including Vietnam and Indonesia.
A 4.3-hectare training center, equipped with a laboratory and demonstration plots, in Vietnam’s Lam Dong province helps about 4,000 farmer households qualify for globally recognized sustainability certifications such as those offered by UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and 4C. These certifications allow farmers to sell beans at higher prices to ECOM, thereby opening a new market for them, increasing their incomes, improving their working conditions, and benefiting the environment through sustainable farming techniques.
Coffee farmer Le Than’s 5.4-hectare coffee plantation is now certified, and he says he has reduced costs by up to 30 percent. “My coffee quality has significantly improved and I get better prices,” he says.
Farmer Than is one of more than 7,500 Vietnamese and Indonesian coffee growers whom IFC has helped become certified through the ECOM programs. As a result, their revenues went up by more than $3 million.
The program has also helped women realize their economic potential. Female farmers play a significant role in coffee growing, but initially very few Indonesian women took part in the trainings. We deployed female trainers and farmer volunteers and adjusted training schedules to suit women’s needs. As a result, the share of women trainees jumped from 4 percent to 43 percent.
Similarly in Vietnam, we engaged local women union leaders, developed genderspecific training materials, and adjusted training times. Through these measures, we trained nearly 2,000 women, doubling the share of female farmers participating in the training.
Coffee farmers are not the only ones IFC helps to integrate into global supply chains. We also worked with GarudaFood, one of Indonesia’s leading food and beverage manufacturers, to incorporate more than 8,000 peanut farmers into its supply chain. This increased the productivity of GarudaFood’s local subsidiary by as much as one-third and that of the farmers by 30 percent.
“My income improved significantly and I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that GarudaFood will buy my crops at agreed prices,” says Sajidin, a peanut farmer in Indonesia’s southern Nusa Tenggara province.