416 vulnerable algae farmers in the Philippines have managed to increase their income by 58%, through their inclusion in the value chain of a Spanish company specialized in the production, processing and marketing of natural hydrocolloids worldwide, extracted from the seaweed. This increase represents important improvements in the quality of life of families by allowing their access to healthier food, education, hygiene and health services.
The Philippines is one of the countries most affected by climate change. Natural events, such as typhoons, floods or droughts, shake 60% of the total cultivation area and 74% of the whole Philippine population.
CODESPA identified one of the provinces most affected by climate change: the province of Surigao del Sur, Municipality of Hinatuan to help 416 algae farmers suffering from climatic phenomena.
Agricultural and aquaculture activities are vital to the area, since they are the source of main income for the population. Therefore, any situation that limits or decreases productivity, such as the effects of adverse climatic phenomena, negatively influence the economic condition for families.
After analyzing the conditions and limitations of the Hinatúan algae farmers, thanks to the support of the la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), we launched different processes aimed at optimizing production and marketing:
- Analyze the algae value chain and identify production bottlenecks. We work in the different stages of algae production: cultivation, monitoring, harvesting, drying, cleaning, packing and transfer.
- Identify a company –through careful research- capable of buying directly from the algae farmers and advising them on specialized techniques.
- Design together an inclusive business project that is mutually beneficial in the following conditions:
- The purchase of algae from farmers at a price that is beneficial to them.
- Promote productive innovation so that algae farmers improve the quality of their algae.
- Promote monitoring on the origin of the raw material, product and distribution, coordination and collaboration with all elements in the production chain.
- Show a commitment to the human and social development of the communities that produce the raw materials.
- Address and raise awareness of environmental protection
- Seek financing and involve other national and international public organizations. Achieve the involvement of the municipal government for the construction of areas for drying algae and a storage warehouse suitable for the collected production. At the local level, the municipal government grants the use of individual areas to each algae farmer in the Hinatúan bay.
- Creation of a social enterprise that represents the municipality’s algae farmers: HSWPA (Hinatúan Seaweed Producers Association) that assumes the role of coordinator and organization of the farmers, with financial and administrative functions.
As a result of the project, it has been possible for algae farmers to increase their production by 21%; to create alliances with the Municipal Government; to constitute the Hinatúan farmers association (HSWPA) that represents them before the local authorities, the companies and before any organization; and, the algae farmers have been inserted into the company’s value chain, turning them into suppliers and business partners.
Contribution of the project to the Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 1. NO POVERTY. Through inclusive business, the income of algae farmers increased 58.43%. This increase means access to healthier food, access to education, hygiene and health services for families.
SDG 5. GENDER EQUALITY. Women algae farmers have been trained (more than 48% of the participants were women), women have been included in management and monitoring positions (as cluster leaders, as accountants) in the association and all its decision-making spaces. The inclusion of women producers guarantees their access to decent work, which benefits, economically and socially, the entire community. And it reduces gender discrimination.
SDG 8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH. The project and the inclusive business strengthens the production and commercialization of algae at the municipal level, and promotes an economic activity that generates employment and can be developed and replicated inside and outside the municipality.
SDG 17. PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS. In the development of the project, we have obtained the commitment and participation of the public and private sectors. These alliances has made it possible to carry out the project and achieve the proposed goals.
CODESPA’s commitment to a more inclusive economy
We encourage that large and small companies bet on inclusive business as a sustainable way to promote the growth and development of vulnerable communities. Businesses can promote a more inclusive economy by opening up development opportunities for the most vulnerable links in their value chains.
In this case, we have managed to get 416 algae farmers included in the algae value chain, becoming suppliers to a Spanish company. Local farmers have increased the price per kg by 65% through direct marketing with the exporting company, increasing their income by 58%.