Increasing Farmers Income with Farmer Income Lab | Mars Inc.
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FARMER INCOME LAB: FINDING SOLUTIONS FOR INCREASING FARMER INCOMES

Standing behind every successful food business—including ours—are successful farmers. Problem is, hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers worldwide face overwhelming challenges, from climate change to water scarcity to poverty. They’re unable to support their families, educate their children or improve their communities.

That’s why we created the Farmer Income Lab, a collaborative “think-do” tank, aimed at asking the right questions, creating solutions and inspiring action. Ultimately, we’re working to build global supply chains that benefit both farmers and business.

Over the last few months, the Farmer Income Lab team, along with advisors and partners from Dalberg, Oxfam and the University of Wageningen, has reviewed evidence from hundreds of efforts to find out which actions increased smallholder farmer incomes. In the first of two new reports, the team discovered that while some initiatives did increase incomes, even the most successful efforts weren’t enough to help farmers thrive.

In other words, it was time to look beyond traditional approaches.

To uncover more meaningful solutions, the Lab assembled a group of experts to review the report and outline next steps. They presented their recommendations in a companion report, detailing the most effective actions food buyers can take to enable smallholder farmers to meaningfully increase their incomes:

  1. Focus on income as a whole, not just a part of the problem.
  2. Target root causes since a farmer’s income is defined by multiple barriers, not a single issue.
  3. Define roles and responsibilities, no one person can solve the issues. An organized supply chain means better solutions.
  4. Align on targets that help tackle multiple issues with a single solution.
  5. Enable success by supporting initiatives proven to help farmers thrive.

This is all part of our plan to become Sustainable in a Generation and ensure farmers are thriving for generations to come. For example, Cocoa for Generations is our ten-year investment to tackle challenges facing smallholder cocoa farmers.

So what’s next? We’ll continue to work with our partners to turn our recent insights to actions, working as a true ‘think-do’ tank.

‘Thinking’ means asking provocative, new questions that will deliver breakthrough insights. ‘Doing’ means putting those insights to work in our own supply chains and sharing solutions so others can also take action. For a closer look at how we’re making global supply chains work for farmers, check out this LinkedIn blog by Marika McCauley-Sine, our Vice President for Global Human Rights.

You can stay up to date online and sign up for the Farmer Income Lab newsletter or join the conversation via email. And if you’re interested in working for a company dedicated to fostering sustainability around the globe, join us!