Creating sustainable change in the Cambodian rice industry
Mars Food , Inc. and IFC are using a data led approach to create sustainable change in the Cambodian rice industry. Together, they are helping thousands of farmers and strengthening the rice value chain.
Rice farming in Cambodia
The agricultural sector is the single largest employer in Cambodia, accounting for approximately 35% of the country’s GDP. The level of productivity of this sector could be increased if certain challenges were overcome. Some of these challenges include a low level of technology and a lack of knowledge regarding modern farming improvements. Many smallholder farmers are poor and illiterate, and they need support to grow and improve their livelihoods.
Within the Cambodian agricultural sector, the most prevalent crop is rice. Rice farming requires a great deal of water, with irrigated rice cultivation using approximately 30-40% of the world’s freshwater. It is important to find a more sustainable way to grow rice, especially considering the current threats we face regarding climate change.
A partnership between IFC and Mars Food
In 2018, IFC and Mars Food entered a partnership to develop the rice industry in Cambodia sustainably, along with local supplier Battambang Rice Investment Co., Ltd (BRICo). Mars Food has joined with the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) and is using their standard to sustainably source their rice. This is part of their Sustainable in a Generation Plan.
This partnership includes training of local farmers in sustainable farming practices, climate smart agriculture technologies and financial literacy. Farmers are provided access to tools that will help their productivity, including inputs, training, markets, and technology. By 2025, IFC expects to see a 20% increase in yield and 25% increase in income, with approximately 9,000 smallholder farmers benefitting from the project. The overall goal is to create a more effective value chain for rice.
The use of SCOPE tools
To track the progress of the project, IFC hired us to conduct SCOPE Basic assessments on the farmer organizations that are being trained. As our data-driven assessments are used as an industry standard, the results from these assessments can easily be compared both to other assessments from the same project and to other assessments done worldwide. A baseline assessment was completed at the beginning of the project, which will be compared to the end-line assessments that will be taken when the project finishes. To make sure the farmer organizations are on the right track, IFC also contracted mid-term assessments.
IFC used the findings from these assessments to tailor the curriculum for their Agribusiness Leadership Program (ALP). Thanks to the SCOPE assessments of the strengths and weakness of the cooperatives, the ALP trainers know what to focus on in the trainings. This allows the trainings to be as effective and efficient as possible. By performing mid-term assessments, IFC can also determine the true impact of their training and make adjustments if necessary. This will help promote continuous improvement among the farmer organizations.
The future of sustainability
Mars Food has made a commitment to sustainability in their rice, and they have been making visible progress. As of 2019, they sourced 97% of their rice sustainably, with the intention of bringing that number up to 100% soon. With IFC’s valuable aid, Mars Food will be able to make lasting change in the rice value chain in Cambodia, and that will help their Sustainability in a Generation goals to help generations to come.
Are you interested in obtaining amazing results like this yourself? Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve impressive project results.Back to news