Fair deal for farmers
In a nutshell
Due to a lack of market access and collective bargaining power, farmers in Shangrila, one of the most impoverished counties in China’s Yunnan Province, sell their produce at below-market prices, leaving many unable to support their families.
Shangrila Farms is a socially responsible natural products company that works with farmer cooperatives in the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan to create new markets for their products through fair trade. It supports growers in the organic cultivation of coffee and honey, buys their produce at a premium and processes, packages and distributes the end products to urban consumers. The company has already developed over 100 products and sold about 300 000 units.
In this collaboration with the Swiss Re Foundation, Shangrila Farms is expanding its organic beekeeping programme to Dong Wang and Yong Sheng, Tibetan areas of Sichuan and Yunnan Province, respectively. The project aims to improve environmental protection and alleviate poverty in poor farming communities through its three-pronged business model, which encompasses:
- Technical assistance: Shangrila Farms offers hands-on training and technical assistance to help farmers ensure the long-term health of their hives and crops. Farmers who address cultivation and harvesting issues can increase their annual family income by 20% to 30%.
- Fair trade buying: The company pays growers fair trade prices, cutting out middlemen. Technical training and materials (such as three new beehives for each new joiner) incentivise farmers to sell their produce to Shangrila Farms, but they are free to sell to anyone.
- Market linkage: Shangrila Farms offers farmers a strong brand and access to more than 200 online and offline sales channels including grocery stores, hotels, restaurants and lifestyle shops in mainland China.
Goals and Expected Impact
The project will increase the cumulative number of farmers who sell honey to Shangrila Farms at fair trade prices. Shangrila Farms will conduct beekeeping training with 8 000 farmers in two areas as well as provide free tools, hives and market linkage including purchasing guarantees. These farmers and their families are expected to enjoy significantly higher earnings, and their communities to benefit from the spread of productive, sustainable agriculture and a more vibrant local economy.