Best Small Farmer Group in Asia - 2014
Largest Farmer Group in Asia
Following his success with SOFA, MOPA was established by our chairman in 2010, and is currently the largest small farmer group that supplies to Bio Foods. Initially, the “marginalized” producers were the small and medium scale producers who underwent difficulties in obtaining a justifiable price for their produce in the market without the interference of a middleman. These producers were educated and mobilized (by Bio Foods, of course) on the concepts and procedures of organic and biodynamic agriculture, and organized into societies (or ‘blocks’) according to their geographical distribution. Now, as part of a certified organic & fair trade producer organization, they are dedicated to environmentally friendly farming practices, respecting the local ecological ethics, enriching the soil structure, uplifting the biodiversity in farmlands, and ultimately increasing productivity. With established producer societies around the country, their outreach covers 24,400 acres to date, with about half of the land being certified organic, and the rest being in-conversion to organic with the assistance of Bio Foods.
Throughout this process, over 10,050 farmer families stand to gain as beneficiaries. Of these families, most members are now involved in farming either full time or part-time. Women are particularly encouraged to join these projects, to empower women of rural communities. Today, we have farmer groups spread over 6 regions of Sri Lanka (Central, Uva, Wayamba, Down-South, North-East & Western provinces), all of whom are ambitiously seeking their way towards sustainability, using organic, fair-trade practices as means to this end. This is what makes MOPA one of the biggest small farmer groups in Asia. MOPA flocks and guides these farming communities with the genuine intent of bringing the producers and sophisticated end-consumer closer together.
Mahauva Organic Tea Project
The Maha-Uva project was initiated in 2016 to keep up with the international demand for organic and fair trade teas. Bio Foods rehabilitated a factory at this Maha-Uva plantation that had fallen into disrepair due to a long period of non-use. On the 10th of November 2016, Maha-Uva began processing of a new range of green and black teas, provided by small-farmers affiliated with the project, according to the sustainable ‘FarmerOutgrower’ model. Prior to engaging with this project, these farmers were merely daily paid workers, but are now educated and trained to farm under a sustainable organic program. The internal control system (ICS) of the Maha-Uva project is completely regulated by Bio Foods, which ensures that no chemical contamination is possible. In addition, this project utilizes a Pelton hydro-power system, this project ensures an organic production facility with no carbon emissions and a zero carbon footprint. This contributes to over two decades of Bio Foods history in sustainable, eco-friendly food production.
Assisting farmer communities to face challenges posed during the COVID-19 pandemic
Bio foods (Pvt) Ltd is implementing a project to assist its network of smallholder farmers and farmer communities to face challenges posed during the COVID 19 pandemic. The initiative is targeted at smallholder farmers, including women, involved in fair trade supply chains through the production of agricultural raw materials. The aim of the initiative is to implement assistance measures directly and rapidly, to alleviate the plight of smallholder farmers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This initiative is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with Fairtrade (Germany and International) and the German Forum Fairer Handel (FFH) under the COVID-19 Fair Trade Emergency Initiative.
The main objectives of the project are two-fold. A series of training programmes are being delivered to the Bio Foods network of small-holder spice farmers on measures to be adopted to reduce waste and to enhance productivity, especially during harvest time and during post-harvest processes. The second objective is to enhance production capacity in the processing plant by installing colour-separation machinery. This process too will result in reducing waste which benefit will be passed onto supplier farmers in the form of higher prices for raw materials supplied.
A total of 1,100 farmers will benefit from the series of one-day training sessions while the installation of colour separation machinery will help increase production output by 40%.
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