For Food Crops and Ingredients sectors predominantly grown by smallholders, the Sustainability Initiatives focus on contributing to better, stable and equitable incomes of male and female farmers. Industry actors join forces to realize a long-term vision towards a living income for the the sector as a whole. Find out more from the following examples:

  • Improving spice markets and incomes
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  • Connecting markets through Seafood MAP
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  • Agreeing a Living Income resolution for the vanilla sector
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Focus on Living Income

Food Crops and Ingredients  Sustainability Initiatives focus on contributing to better, stable and equitable incomes of male and female smallholder farmers. Retailers, exporters, traders, processors and food manufacturers increase their investment in farmer inclusion, with the ultimate objective to adopt a transformative sectorial approach with a long-term vision towards a living income – an income that at least covers the cost of a decent standard of living.

One key aspect is investment in sustainable sourcing, i.e. via service delivery programs: IDH partners with industry actors, local agri-entrepreneurs and producer organizations to ensure that products are produced responsibly and meet sustainability standards. Suppliers are encouraged to buy from and develop the service delivery programs, thereby contributing to increased incomes for farmers.

The programs focus on training and services for entrepreneurial farmers, helping to enhance farm productivity, adoption of sustainable agriculture practices, diversify crops and incomes, and increase access services as data and finance. They also promote the inclusion of younger farmers and equality between men and women, maintaining long-term viability for farms, particularly in South and Southeast Asia and Africa.

Focal points for F&I Sustainability Initiatives on Living income

  • Smallholder farmer inclusion
  • Gender equality
  • Training and services for entrepreneurial farmers
  • Access to services as data and finance
  • Managing programs in countries in South and Southeast Asia and Africa

Spices: Improving markets and incomes

In the spices sector, the Sustainable Spices Initiative (SSI) takes a collective approach towards living income as part of the platform’s new strategy towards 2025.

The Vietnam pepper Public-Private Partnership (PPP) taskforce works towards increased market compliance while improving income for pepper smallholder farmers. The long-term goal is to support 25% of pepper farmers increase their income by 20% by 2025.

In India, the National Sustainable Spices Program works to enabling better income for smallholder farmers through improved value chain linkages, as a result of public-private partnerships. For example, a project facilitating market linkages for smallholder farmers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh focuses on increasing farmer income by reducing the cost of production and ensuring farmers receive a better price.

Driving change and awareness

SSI’s mission is to be the point of reference for the global spices, herbs and dehydrated vegetables industry for driving change and awareness in the field of sustainability. As a platform, it is provides an unmissable link to bring together initiatives of members and liaise with authorities. IDH’s support and facilitation has been crucial to its success.

Alfons van Gulick, SSI Chairman and Nedspice Group Managing Director

Aquaculture: Connecting markets through Seafood MAP

IDH and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) developed the Seafood MAP, to support non-certified seafood producers, including small-scale fishing and farming communities, to become more sustainable; and help markets to supply more sustainable seafood. Seafood MAP is a global information sharing platform that builds transparency, trust, and connections among seafood companies, interested investors, buyers, and civil society. Participants, who are validated on the site, upload information about their products, services, and their ongoing sustainability activities – mapping out their improvement journeys over time. Users can build partnerships and networks based on their business activities and sustainability goals.

By filling the current information void in this area and recognizing progress on all aspects of seafood sustainability, Seafood MAP reduces the fragmentation of the seafood industry and encourages continuous improvement efforts by actors of all sizes. Its aims include creating better market linkages between seafood producers and buyers, resulting in increased income for the producers.


Learn more about the Seafood MAP

Improving supply chain sustainability

Seafood MAP will provide a framework to structure sourcing commitments in non-certified seafood; it will help us to collaborate with our suppliers to improve the supply chain sustainability.

Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Thai Union

Vanilla: Agreeing a Living Income resolution for the whole sector

In the Vanilla sector, the Sustainable Vanilla Initiative (SVI) recognized that a changing market with an upcoming period of oversupply and downward price pressure would put farmer livelihoods at increased risk.

To encourage collective action to improve economic resilience and market stability, in 2020 SVI and its members launched a unique joint resolution, committing to creating a market environment that supports the ability of vanilla farmers to earn a living income, an income that at least covers the cost of a decent standard of living. This commitment means continued investment in strategies to help farmers close the gap between current incomes and a living income, including through trading relationships, new or improved farmer-facing programs, and participation in sector reform work promoting rural development and vanilla growers’ ability to earn a living income.

In line with this commitment, SVI will encourage the Madagascar government, professional associations, private sector stakeholders, and other civil society actors to work together to develop a long term-policy and process approach to living income in the vanilla sector. A private sector commitment to living income can only be successful if complemented by a sectoral approach to traceability, professionalization, and assurance around any farmgate reference prices.


Hear more about the sustainability work in the vanilla sector in this podcast

The focus areas within Food Crops and Ingredients - Living Wage, Living Income, Environment, and Value Chain Development - cover the sectors of Aquaculture, Flowers & Plants, Fruit & Vegetables, Juice, Nuts, Spices, and Vanilla. Retailers and other players within the value chain have a responsibility for the ethical provenance and sustainability of their products. IDH works with various stakeholders to prioritize and address the most pressing sustainability issues in each sector. They often face similar challenges and therefore benefit from sharing experiences and solutions.