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Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Field Visit

November 6th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry Co. Ltd. applied for the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Program last year and was lucky to be selected in June 2018 as one of 70 social enterprises from around the world to receive funding under the program. Expo Live is an innovation and partnership program launched by the organizers of Expo 2020, which will be held two years from now in Dubai. Leading up to the 2020 expo, the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme provides financial support to organizations with novel and innovative solutions in three thematic areas: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Grant recipients receive funding for their projects and have an opportunity to exhibit their solutions in Dubai during Expo 2020.

We were happy to go on a field visit last week with Sofiya, a Grant Manager with the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme team. Sofiya flew from Dubai to visit us in Thailand and see firsthand how we were using support from the grant program to generate positive social impact for our farmers.

Our first stop on the field visit was to observe an IT training session with field officers from a partner cooperative. With support from Expo Live, we are partnering with an IT company to build a digital data collection system for our field officers and cooperatives. This system will allow field officers to use mobile devices to collect livelihood and yield data directly from farmers in their fields, replacing current paper-based surveys and record keeping systems. The paper-based systems are labor intensive and prone to errors and inaccuracies, while the new digital system will provide real-time data that will assist both the cooperatives and Jasberry with harvest planning and record keeping for organic certification. Sofiya was able to sit in on a training session with the IT company and the field officers as they tested a prototype version of the data collection software. We expect the IT system to be fully fielded within a year, allowing us to greatly improve the accuracy and timeliness of data collection for over 2,500 Jasberry farmers.

The second and last stop on the field visit was to a field where farmers were trained on how to produce their own high-quality Jasberry seed for planting. Teaching farmers the proper techniques for producing their own seeds lowers planting costs for them, and also helps us ensure high quality standards for the Jasberry rice they produce. The rice in the training field was planted a few months ago during an initial training session for 20 farmers, and we were able to show Sofiya how healthy the rice was now in the middle of the growing season. Support from Expo Live also covered the costs of this seed production training, so we were happy to pose for a few photos with Sofiya and the cooperative field officers who carried out the training.

We’re very fortunate to have received so much assistance from the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme, and had a great time during Sofiya’s visit. We look forward to continuing to update our blog with several other activities that are helping Jasberry farmers thanks to support from the Expo Live program.

Jasberry Partners with Cedele in Singapore

November 4th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Cedele in Singapore. Jasberry’s healthy and delicious organic food products are a great match with Cedele’s ethos of “Eat Well, Be Well.” Cedele is now using Jasberry rice and Jasberry flour in selected menu items and baked goods in over 30 Cedele bakery cafes across Singapore. To find locations in Singapore, visit the Cedele website for more information.

Jasberry Attends DBS Foundation SE Summit

October 22nd, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry’s co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Palmmy, attended the DBS Foundation Social Enterprise Summit last week in Singapore. Held for the third year in a row, the Social Enterprise Summit convened DBS Foundations’s network of Social Enterprises across Asia, joined by investors, SMEs, corporates, capacity-builders and experts. Across three days, attendees benefited from practical masterclasses, experience visits, and talks designed to spur innovative thinking and build networks. The theme of this year’s event was “Social impact + Profit: Can boundaries be blurred?”

Palmmy had a fun and productive time attending the event, and was also honored to speak on two of the discussion panels. On the first day, Palmmy spoke on a panel with the topic of “Blurring the Boundaries Between SMEs and SEs” and discussed what businesses of the future will look like. On the final day, Palmmy had the opportunity to speak on a panel of alumni of the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia, sharing her experiences and challenges since Jasberry won the Social Venture Challenge Asia competition in 2016.

We’re proud to be part of the Social Enterprise community in Asia, and can’t thank the DBS Foundation enough for the constant support they have given us and other SEs in the region. Palmmy learned a lot from the event, and has already started to improve the way we work by applying some of the things she picked up from this year’s Social Enterprise Summit.

Jasberry Partners with Just Fruits in Malaysia

October 21st, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

We’re excited to announce that Jasberry has officially partnered with Just Fruits to distribute Jasberry products in Malaysia. Our products are currently available in six Just Fruits Outlet stores in Klang Valley, as well as through the Just Fruits Facebook store. If you would like to find our products in Malaysia, please visit the Just Fruits website and their Facebook page for more information.

Jasberry Attends Expo Live Global Innovators Summit

October 3rd, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry Co. Ltd. applied for the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Program last year and was lucky to be selected in June 2018 as one of 70 social enterprises from around the world to receive funding under the program. Expo Live is an innovation and partnership program launched by the organizers of Expo 2020, which will be held two years from now in Dubai. Leading up to the 2020 expo, the Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme provides financial support to organizations with novel and innovative solutions in three thematic areas: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. Grant recipients receive funding for their projects and have an opportunity to exhibit their solutions in Dubai during Expo 2020.

Jasberry’s two cofounders, Neil and Palmmy, attended the first Expo Live Global Innovators Summit in Dubai earlier this week. Hosted by the Expo Live team, the Global Innovators Summit invited grant winners from over 40 countries around the world to come to Dubai for four days of workshops, training sessions and discussions. Attendees also took advantage of opportunities to network with other Global Innovators, while Expo 2020’s Premier Partners Accenture, Cisco, DP World, Emirates NBD, Etisalat, PepsiCo and SAP, plus Official Partners DEWA, Emaar Hospitality and UPS, offered support and advice throughout the event.

The Global Innovators Summit was a great opportunity to meet the Expo Live team in person and also network with other Global Innovators in the program. We look forward to continuing to be a part of the Expo Live community in the lead up to Expo 2020 in Dubai, and can’t thank the Expo Live team enough for putting together such an exciting, informative, and motivational summit!

Jasberry Pitches at Oslo Innovation Week

October 1st, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry Co., Ltd. was one of four Thai social enterprises selected by the government of Thailand to attend Oslo Innovation Week 2018 in Norway last month. Thanks to generous support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand and Thailand’s National Innovation Agency, Jasberry was able to send our Business Development Manager, Clint, to participate in a series of conferences and seminars during the week-long event.

Oslo Innovation Week highlighted ways to solve real global challenges through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, pushing the world forward towards sustainable change. The international events throughout the week included participants from startups and more established medium and large enterprises. Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, investors, researchers and tech experts were all in attendance, bringing together key players in the social change and innovation community.

One of the highlights of the week was Clint’s opportunity to deliver a short pitch about Jasberry at the fourth annual Oslo Innovation Week 100 Pitches competition at Oslo City Hall. The competition was a day-long event featuring pitches from 100 innovative social startups from around the world. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to share our story in front of a diverse international audience, and are thankful for a trip where we were able to learn so much from others who are also harnessing entrepreneurship to create real social change.

Photo by: Jan Khur

Jasberry Intern Visits Farmers to Learn More About Rice

August 14th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Where does the rice on our plates come from? What work goes behind growing and milling the rice we eat? Our Marketing Intern, Damian from Germany, got a first-hand look when we sent him to the field to plant Jasberry rice with our farmers:

With the help of our Field Coordinator, Nhon, it was possible for me to visit our farmers and get a general overview of where Jasberry rice comes from. I gained many insights on how rice is planted, grown and processed, and also learned how much work and energy is behind every package of rice that we see and buy in the supermarket.

Our journey started at Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport at 6.20am. Relatively tired from the short night, the anticipation was still very great. The flight was on time and short, and in just over an hour we reached Roi Et Airport.

After we arrived at the airport, we picked up a rental car to drive to Yasothon, the province where the rice fields we were visiting were located. The ride took just over an hour from Roi Et, and the area we drove through looked very nice and natural. Over time, the surroundings became more and more rural. It was a pretty rare view for me, since my previous experiences in Thailand have mostly been in Bangkok or on the islands. However, these are mostly dominated by a design that appeals to foreign tourists. Therefore, seeing a very local part of Thailand without tourists was a pleasant experience for me.

Rice Planting

We eventually reached Yasothon and met the leader of the farmer cooperative we were visiting. The cooperative leader is also a farmer herself, and works actively in the rice fields. Along with meeting the cooperative leader, we met other farmers and I introduced myself. After I changed my clothes and prepared for the farm, we drove a few more minutes to the rice fields nearby.

In the middle of the rice fields, I realized that my idea of what I thought a rice field was like was different from what it actually was — the fields were very large and filled with a lot of water, but I had actually expected rice fields to be much more dry. Thus, my clothes were not necessarily suitable (especially the pants) for farming. But at least I can now say that I finally know what a rice field looks like! One of the rice fields was extremely wet and the ground was practically under water, however the field was empty and no plants were growing. The farmers planted Jasberry rice plants in this empty field, while I was responsible for the symmetry of the planting rows. I had to hold a stick, always at the same distance, which was connected to a string and another stick on the opposite side. With this string, the farmers could always see where to plant the rice plants in order to get uniform symmetry and maximum yields.

The results of the planting will be seen four months later in November when the Jasberry rice will be ready for harvest, so the farmers invited me to come back then. The work in one field lasted about 2.5 hours, after which I was well tanned by the sun! After work, the families of the farmers invited us for lunch, which was very, very local but also very delicious! Afterwards, we said goodbye to all the farmers and journeyed to the facility where Jasberry rice is milled.

Rice Milling

When we arrived at the rice mill, we were greeted by mill’s owner. He explained the daily operations of the mill to us. After harvesting rice from the paddies, farmers collect their rice and bring it to the mill for processing. The rice is cleaned with a special machine, and any rice that does not meet color and quality standards is removed. Machines then mill the rice to remove the husk while preserving the whole grain.

The mill can also process rice for other products. For example, the rice grains can be cut into even smaller pieces and sent to baby food producers. If any unwanted rice remains, it will not be thrown away but processed into animal feed and bought back by farmers to feed their livestock. Thus, no rice grain is wasted. With new knowledge and experience gained by the visit, I thanked the mill owner and said goodbye. After a quick dinner, we took the last flight back to Bangkok and landed just before 10pm.

What I Learned

The journey to the rice fields and mill has given me many insights and experiences that I never would have expected:

1. Starting with the fact that besides Bangkok and the islands, there are actually other, much more traditional places in Thailand that are worth seeing. Yasothon’s local flair has shown me how easily many people in Bangkok live and how privileged we are in some ways. Still, the people we met in Yasothon seem to be happy with their way of living! Farmers always greeted us with a friendly smile and a lot of kindness. Because of their hospitality, I never felt uncomfortable during the trip.

2. Being a rice farmer is an extremely physical job that requires a lot of strength. It is amazing that most farmers are older and still have not lost their motivation and strength. The strong sun made working conditions more difficult, but nobody complained or took breaks during the planting. The rice field was planted quickly and everyone gave their best.

3. Even though much work in the mill is done by machines, a lot of manual work is still needed. Rice production does not end with the harvest — it is just the beginning. Through the trip I have understood these procedures much better.

4. No rice is thrown away or wasted, and products like animal feed can be made out of any unwanted rice.

5. I feel like I appreciate the rice that I eat much more now, because now I am more aware of the whole process and work behind it. It takes a lot of energy, work and diligence to produce the rice we can buy everyday in the supermarket. The work of rice farmers must be highly appreciated and respected.

I absolutely enjoyed the trip and came back with many new insights and experiences. Many thanks to the entire Jasberry team, especially to Nhon for letting me have this opportunity!

Jasberry and Siam Organic Officially Recognized as Social Enterprises by Thai Government

August 11th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

We are honored to announce that both Jasberry Co., Ltd. and sister company Siam Organic Co., Ltd. were part of the first group of 15 Thai companies officially recognized as social enterprises by the Government of Thailand yesterday. This is an important milestone in Thailand’s social enterprise community, as it was the first time the Thai government has legally defined social enterprise as a unique way of structuring businesses to generate social good.

Earlier this year, the Thai government passed new regulations setting the requirements for a business to be certified as a social enterprise. The legislation is an important step forward in formalizing social enterprise as a distinct way of doing business that is different from both traditional for-profit company structures and non-profit foundations. To receive certification from the Thai government as a social enterprise, a board reviews each company applying for social enterprise status to ensure it addresses community development, environmental, or social issues with its business model. Additionally, a minimum of 70% of the company’s annual profits must be reinvested into the enterprise. The legislation also made plans to set up a revolving fund to support Thai social entrepreneurs, and set up penalties for businesses using the “social enterprise” label without proper certification.

Jasberry has proven that social enterprise business models can be successful while also generating social good for their communities. We hope this new legislation will encourage even more Thai entrepreneurs to adopt social enterprise approaches, and look forward to seeing more Thai businesses achieve social enterprise certification in the future.

 

The first 15 social enterprises officially recognized by the Thai government

Jasberry Co., Ltd’s Social Enterprise Certificate

Siam Organic Co., Ltd.’s Social Enterprise Certificate

Jasberry Is Thailand’s First Food Company to Achieve B Corporation Certification

May 30th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Jasberry Co., Ltd. (and Siam Organic Co., Ltd.) is happy to announce that it is the first Thai food company to receive B Corporation certification from B Lab, a nonprofit certifying body in the USA. The “B” in B Corp stands for “beneficial” and indicates that certified organizations generate significant social and environmental benefits from the way they do business. Similar to other certifications like fair trade, organic, and LEED, the B Corp certification is also unique in examining how the company as a whole operates.

To determine the eligibility of companies like Jasberry to receive B Corp certification, B Lab conducts a thorough audit to measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders — including its workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment. Only companies that voluntarily meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability can become Certified B Corporations.

“We are proud to be Thailand’s first food company to achieve B Corp Certification. It further validates our commitment to social and environmental impact, transparency and accountability. We believe that the next generation of entrepreneurs will use business as a force for good, and tackle the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues. We want to be at the forefront of such a movement,” says Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak, CEO & Co-founder of Jasberry Co., Ltd. and Siam Organic Co., Ltd.

Jasberry was able to meet the high standards for B Corp certification because its social enterprise model was designed from the start to generate benefits for all of its stakeholders. Founded in 2011 to help alleviate poverty among small-scale rice farmers, Jasberry Co., Ltd. partners with over 2,000 farmers in Thailand to grow organic Jasberry™ rice, a variety of non-GMO rice that is deep purple in color and extremely high in antioxidants. Jasberry rice is marketed internationally as a premium superfood, and the company pays Jasberry farmers up to 200% more than commodity rice farmers in Thailand typically receive. Jasberry also provides farmers with training and other services to help farmers reduce planting costs while increasing yields. Through lower costs, higher yields and larger harvest payments, farmers planting Jasberry rice earn 14 times more than average Thai rice farmers, enabling them to escape poverty while making organic farming a sustainable livelihood.

Farmers are not the only stakeholders who benefit from the way Jasberry does business. All Jasberry farmers plant according to international organic standards, helping to protect the environment for local farming communities while also producing the highest quality of rice for consumers around the world. Additionally, Jasberry partners with its farmers and cooperatives to help mill and package Jasberry rice, generating more jobs in the rural communities where Jasberry rice is grown. Finally, Jasberry’s dedication to social good extends all the way to its customers, with a commitment to deliver ethically produced Jasberry rice and other organic food products that are both healthy and delicious.

Jasberry is proud to join more than 2,000 Certified B Corporations in over 140 industries and 50 countries that all have one unifying goal — to redefine success in business. B Corporations aim to create value for all of society, not just for traditional stakeholders such as company owners and shareholders. Jasberry is excited to be part of this growing movement of companies using business as a force for good, and looks forward to being a global leader in using sustainable business models to solve some of the world’s toughest social and environmental problems.

To learn more about Jasberry’s B Corp certification, please visit Jasberry’s company profile on the B Corporation website.

Keep up to date with Jasberry’s products and its work with Thai farmers on the official Jasberry website.

Siam Organic Partners with Kiva to Help Jasberry Farmers

April 27th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Siam Organic began a partnership with Kiva in 2016 to increase the social impact we generate for Jasberry farmers. Kiva is non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via their website to low-income entrepreneurs and students in over 80 countries, with the mission “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Last year, Kiva users funded loans to Jasberry farmers for the purposes of purchasing farming inputs before the planting season. Smallholder farmers are frequently short on cash before planting, and it is often difficult for them to invest in inputs like high quality seeds and organic fertilizer that would allow them to achieve the best yields. Farmers without access to cash or credit are unable to purchase higher quality inputs, and are trapped in a cycle of low yields and low profits. Loans from Kiva users last year made it much easier for Jasberry farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizer, directly contributing to higher yields and profits.

This year, we have started a new project with Kiva to help Jasberry farmers purchase cows using credit from Kiva users. Cows benefit our farmers in a number of ways. As organic farmers, cows are a critical component of self-sufficient and sustainable farming. Farmers use manure from the cows to produce their own organic fertilizer, reducing their input costs while also improving yields and soil health. Cows also help control weeds in fields by eating grasses that compete with rice. Finally, cows can be bred, raised, and sold at a profit within a few short years. In this way, cows serve to diversify farmer income, making them less reliant on a single crop for their annual income.

Nineteen loans for cows were funded by Kiva users in March, so our Field Coordinator Nhon and our Kiva portfolio manager Mark took a trip to visit our farmers last week. They met with our field officers and the farmers who received the loans, and took a visit to a local cow market to start finding cows for our farmers. It was a great visit where Nhon and Mark learned about the life-changing loans Kiva users have provided for Jasberry farmers.