Golden Sunland Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Smallholder Rice Farmers Transformation to Counter Imminent Food Scarcity

Food security

We operate a for-profit, seed-to-table entity solving the wicked problem encumbering Southeast Asia's rice value chain, thereby countering imminent food scarcity.

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Lead Organization

Golden Sunland Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Singapore, Central Singapore Community Development Council, Singapore

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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Global food availability faces imminent climate crisis. With over 50% of our food produced by smallholder farmers, and rice being an important staple to half the global population, we need to do better than the first Green Revolution. Inspired by Rockefeller Foundation’s mantra of a ‘Doubly Green Revolution’, Golden Sunland was established to bring proven technology to smallholder farmers in Myanmar and transform the rice value chain.Through our hybrid seed technology and serving across the full value chain, we successfully increased farmers' profit by minimally 30% and reduced carbon footprint to just 1.16kg CO2eq/kg rice. By collectivising farmers, we create economy of scale to increase adoption of mechanization and connect them with credit facilities for finances, input, and services. Through our shortened value chain, we demonstrate a business that flourishes alongside smallholder farmers and the environment.

Problem Statement

Southeast Asia's 660 million people are 50% rural populace who're smallholder farmers, with majority farming rice. Smallholder farmers produce over 50% of global food needs. Rice is staple to over half the world, providing 19% of global per capita energy and 13% of per capita protein. We are facing a food scarcity crisis as productivity dropped 17% and prices have increased 37% due to climate change; given current trends, population growth will overtake production in another decade. These issues affect developing nations disproportionately more than developed nations that already possess infrastructure and supply chains to mitigate climate change.Although multiple organizations exist in the rice ecosystem, each of them serves in isolated points across the value chain, which means they're still constrained by the Smallholder wicked problem: Tiny isolated farmlands, multiple brokers and middlemen, lack of infrastructure and economies of scale. Furthermore, political capital to impose a change is absent as rural voters detest any perceived land-grabbing, and rural populations still form the majority electorate. Given prevailing conditions and historical context, the most influential way of tackling the Smallholder wicked problem requires a full value chain commitment from seed-to-harvest. These leverage points are: Seeds R&D, farmer collectivization, bulk input purchase, farmer education, farmer support and coaching, direct harvest-to-dryer, grain size-specific rice milling, proper storage/packaging, direct-to-consumer sales. These leverage points carry the following risks: Regulations, weather, self-destructive self-serving behavior, knowledge gap, market fluctuation.

Solution Overview

Rice in Southeast Asia is predominantly produced by smallholder farmers. Historically, efforts towards sustainable production were made in silo. From our observation, improving individual points in the value chain is ineffective or counter-productive. E.g. Focusing on productivity led to agriculture practices that harmed the environment and dropped unit price when produce were sold. Surveying Southeast Asia, we realized connecting the whole value chain is the only way to RETAIN and CREATE value.We measure progress using three indicators:1) Farmers’ net profit improve.2) Reduced carbon emission as result of our involvement in farmers’ activity.3) Company has sustainable profits and development.By measuring all indicators concurrently, we demonstrate a project that is sustainable from all angles. As counter-example, significant investment from organizations like World Bank in Myanmar were dedicated towards policy change to influence value chain stakeholders. While crucial for long-term transformation, it neglected stakeholders' immediate needs, failing to obtain their support.Golden Sunland creates an inclusive ecosystem from bottom up, supplementing efforts from other development projects. Our shortened value chain is a successful model that others can adopt. Myanmar has 7 million hectares of rice fields, USD100 million merely encapsulates 18,000 hectares. While this scale looks like a drop in the ocean, it is a replicable and proven model for all other organizations in this industry to readily adopt and thereby uplift the entire population.

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Project Funders

  • PIDG 2016 - 2018
  • GSPI Pte Ltd 2017 - Ongoing
  • SAT Pte Ltd 2017 - Ongoing

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