Every rice grain matters.
How our small-scale farmers grow their way out of poverty
Neil and Palmmy were MBA students in 2011 when they learned that Thai farmers were among the poorest in the world, earning just $0.40/day, as a result of poor yield, rising costs and inefficient agricultural systems. This problem affects 17 million farmers in Thailand alone and it is getting worse as farmers’ debts have tripled in the last decade resulting in a multitude of social problems.
Wanting to create a sustainable, scalable and irreversible solution to such problem, they founded Siam Organic, a social enterprise that solves the problem of farmer poverty through innovative organic products with global appeal, starting with Jasberry® rice. Beginning with just 25 farmers in the first year, Siam Organic is now working with over 2,500 farmers, helping them out of poverty, one grain at a time.
Here’s how Siam Organic helps the farmers we serve at every step along the way:
1. High-quality organic seeds
At the start of each season, Siam Organic provides our network of small-scale farmers with high-quality non-GMO Jasberry rice seeds to plant. Better seeds mean higher yields for our farmers and the most nutritious and delicious rice for you.
2. Field Preparation
Global warming is causing rainy seasons to change and become more unpredictable, making it harder for farmers to determine the right time to plant each year. Siam Organic consults with weather experts and advises our farmers on when rainy seasons are expected to start. By helping our farmers plant at the right time, they achieve higher yields. Through a microfinance partnership with Kiva, we also extend loans to some of our farmers for the purchase of organic fertilizer that further improves their production. When it comes time to plant, our farmers help each other prepare their fields – rice planting is hard work but much easier when you team up with your neighbors!
3. Rice Maturation
Jasberry rice is planted once a year and takes six months to grow. During the growing period, farmers are busy tending to their fields. Siam Organic provides all of our farmers with training on organic farming methods so they can meet international organic certification standards. During the growing season, farmers use the best organic farming practices to protect their crops from pests and diseases. Our farmers never use harmful chemicals or pesticides on the rice they grow.
After a long growing season, our farmers harvest their fields entirely by hand. This labor-intensive process ensures the harvest of only the highest quality rice. Manual harvesting also eliminates the negative environmental impact of harvesting with machines. We require our farmers to keep at least 25% of their harvests for household consumption, and we guarantee the purchase of the rest.
5. Milling & Storage
Farmers bring their harvests to one of our milling cooperatives and Siam Organic pays farmers up to 200% more for Jasberry rice harvests than they would otherwise receive if they grew conventional commodity rice instead. The cooperatives mill and store the Jasberry rice until it is ready to be shipped to our customers.
6. Packing & Distribution
Jasberry rice is packaged and distributed internationally, allowing Siam Organic to connect over 2,500 small-scale farmers in rural Thailand with markets around the world. Siam Organic is proud of the hardworking farmers we serve, and we’re happy to share their healthy and delicious Jasberry rice with you!