What they do
In developing countries, farmers almost all grow the same crop. In Cambodia, where they started, it’s rice. Farmers like Dara, in the picture, all grow it at the same time, in bad quality, with low productivity, and thus obtain low prices.
Conversely in local markets, other products such as vegetables are in high demand, often in supply shortages and very expensive. 85% of vegetables consumed in Cambodia are imported, whereas 80% of the population are farmers.
The reasons appear when looking at the challenges that Dara and other farmers face. They have to choose what to grow among many products with volatile prices. However they have no market information, no agricultural techniques and no capital to buy tools to grow other products.
As a consequence they merely replicate what their neighbors are doing. This approach earns them a predictably low income while keeping regional markets undersupplied and overpriced.
They create partnerships with farmers.
They provide them with seeds, fertilizers and pesticides for free. They lend them tools for free. One of their agents trained in agronomy goes to their field every week.
They commit to purchase their harvest and the farmers commit to sell all of it to us. They then resell it to wholesalers in regional markets.