Helping Smallholders Improve Their Incomes
Helping Smallholders Improve Their Incomes
CAMPAIGN: Mars Principles In Action
January 27, 2015 / 3BL Media/ - These smallholdings, found mainly in low-income countries, support more than two billion people worldwide. 2,3
Despite the important role they play, smallholders tend to face barriers that limit their productivity and incomes. Research shows that poor training and lack of access to markets and technologies have resulted in a much lower yield per hectare in smallholder farms in developing countries, compared with those in richer economies4. Volatile food prices and a lack of income diversification increase the vulnerability of smallholders and also threaten food security.
Many commodities we source, such as cocoa, are grown by smallholder farmers. Our commitment to seeking Mutuality drives us to help these farmers improve their incomes. Declining farmer incomes is not just bad for farmers and their families – it also threatens our company’s future supply.
Our programs improve farmer incomes by improving their productivity through technical assistance and education to improve quality and yields and better control pests and disease. For example, our Cocoa Development Clinics (CDCs) in cocoa-growing regions of Asia and West Africa provide farmers with the tools, techniques and training to cultivate high-quality yields.
In May 2014, Mars Chocolate pledged its support for the CocoaAction commitments, which are enabling 300,000 farmers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to increase their agricultural productivity by 2020.
On many raw materials, we partner with certification organizations such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified. Certification gives farmers improved access to markets to help them build stronger farms and increase their income.
We are members of several industry groups such as the Ethical Tea Partnership, the Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) and the World Cocoa Foundation. Through these groups, we aim to influence sourcing standards to improve sustainability. We are on the board of the SRP, a multi-stakeholder partnership to promote sustainability throughout the rice value chain. Through SRP, we will develop broad sustainable sourcing standards for rice, which will include indicators to improve farmer livelihoods such as net income from rice, better farming techniques requiring fewer inputs, and increased grain yield.
Tea, some of which we source from India and Kenya, has a high prevalence of smallholder farmers. One of our projects with the Ethical Tea Partnership helps farmer-owned factories in Kenya reduce their energy costs. To measure the success of the project, we are working to include indicators that will track how much of the efficiency savings trickles down to the individual farmers as well as the tea pickers.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’ first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 75,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, CESAR®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES® and NUTRO®; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food – UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA® and WISDOM PANEL®.