Livelihoods 3F
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Mars launched the €120 million Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming (Livelihoods 3F) with Danone in 2015. The fund aims to build sustainable supply chains and generate positive social and economic impact to smallholder farmers and their farms.

Livelihoods 3F implements projects that work to simultaneously restore the farming ecosystems, while improving the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

“Livelihoods 3F is based on the conviction that sustainable farming, climate change and poverty are closely linked,” said Bernard Giraud, President of Livelihoods Venture, the organisation that manages the fund.

Investments by Livelihoods 3F will have a triple objective:

  • Economic: Increase yields and farmers’ incomes.
  • Social: Improve livelihoods of farmers and women’s economic empowerment.
  • Environmental: Restore soil and farming ecosystems.

“Delivering quality products that consumers love, and growth we can be proud of as a company, are dependent upon having a sustainable value chain that creates mutual benefit for the farmers that work so hard to produce our agricultural ingredients. Our collaboration with Livelihoods and Danone to kick off this fund is an investment in learning more about what we can do to improve practices and prosperity in small holder farming communities,” said Victoria B. Mars, Chairman of the Board, Mars, Incorporated. “The open fund also presents the opportunity to create real scale by engaging with others. Business has an important role to play in addressing environmental and societal challenges and by focusing on such long-term investments we believe we can contribute. By coming together with Danone, we have a significantly greater chance of success and an opportunity to have meaningful positive impact that will endure.”

In July 2017, the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming announced their first investment with smallholder farmers to improve vanilla quality while increasing farmers’ income and preserving Madagascar’s unique landscape. The project aims to triple farmers’ revenues and provide companies with quality and fully traceable vanilla over the next 10 years.

Vanilla is a vital ingredient that is widely used in many industries, including food, cosmetics, and perfume. 80% of global vanilla production is concentrated in a small area in the North of Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world.

The new program aims to train farmers to increase vanilla productivity and quality through agroforestry and good farming practices. A newly created farmer-owned cooperative will collect the vanilla, cure it and export it to the project partners. The co-operative will pay the farmers four times a year, helping them to get through the hunger gap by phasing their income. Through this work, it’s estimated that around 60% of cured vanilla’s value will go back to farmers (instead of 5% to 20% today).

This project is designed to create decent and stable income for up to 3,000 producers and around 12,000 family members.

Victoria Mars said: “Our engagement with the Livelihoods Fund is one of the ways we are partnering with and learning from others to improve the sustainability practices used to grow our raw materials, and to make sure that the farmers that grow these crops are treated fairly and have an opportunity to thrive. We’re pleased to be working alongside Danone, Firmenich and Prova to make a long-term investment that aims to increase the quality of the vanilla crops, improve the farmers’ revenues, and positively impact the local environment. Our objective is to also reapply learnings from this work to other parts of our supply chain to increase the scale of positive impact from these projects.”

The Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming offers a unique solution for companies seeking to sustainably source from smallholder farmers. For more information, visit the Livelihoods Website.

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