Farmers of Rice Fund Surin, Thailand, receiving the organic premium.
Photo: Helvetas


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The Swiss retailer Coop and its partners support smallholders in India and Thailand in converting their rice-based production systems to sustainable organic farming. Farmers improve and diversify their incomes while managing natural resources more sustainably. They receive fair prices for their products and invest in their future development. The initiative provides a viable business case for all value chain actors involved.

Coop, the second largest retailer in Switzerland, launched in 2011 an innovative project to support more than 4,500 smallholder rice farmers in Northern India and Eastern Thailand to convert to organic farming and to sell their produce at fair trade conditions. This initiative is part of the company’s strategy to convert its rice brand to fairtrade and organic. Over the past years, Coop’s rice processing and trading company Reismühle Brunnen has continuously increased the share of sustainable rice, and today, it is the largest supplier of organic and fairtrade speciality rice in the European market. Mandated by Coop, the Swiss development organisation Helvetas implements the project in collaboration with its sister organisation Intercooperation Social Development India and with local farmer organisations, processing companies and research institutions. In India, the key partner is the company Nature Bio-Foods Ltd, which buys the paddy directly from the farmers, mills it in their own premises and exports it to Reismühle Brunnen.

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