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Cultivating the Inclusive Business Landscape in ASEAN Agriculture



In the ASEAN region, the significance of the inclusive business model, a model that places a strong emphasis on social and environmental impact, becomes evident, especially in areas where a substantial portion of the population relies on agriculture for sustenance. The World Bank data highlights the nature of the challenges faced by these farmers in countries like Cambodia and Laos, where over 70% of the workforce is involved in agricultural activities. Unfortunately, these farmers confront significant issues, including restricted access to essential resources and viable markets. This is precisely where the inclusive business model steps in—a strategic and purposeful intervention crafted to empower these farmers and expedite societal advancement.


AGRICULTURE AND INCLUSIVITY

Marginalized farmers across the ASEAN region grapple with an array of pressing challenges that hinder their growth and well-being. These challenges include limited access to crucial resources needed for modern and effective farming methods. These resources comprise advanced agricultural technologies, quality seeds, appropriate fertilizers, and efficient irrigation systems. This means that they are unable to optimize their production processes, resulting in lower yields and decreased agricultural productivity. Additionally, their efforts are undermined by harmful conventional practices which encompass outdated methods of cultivation, pesticide misuse, deforestation, and soil degradation. Such practices not only harm the natural environment but also destroy the long-term viability of agricultural endeavors. As such, the inclusive business model is an approach that aims to prioritize balanced growth, social impact, and sustainable development throughout the agricultural value chain. It actively empowers marginalized stakeholders, such as smallholder farmers and rural communities, by incorporating them into business decision-making processes and offering access to resources, training, and avenues to market opportunities.


REAL CASE IN ACTION

Vinasamex stands as GREAT example of the inclusive business model, specializing in certified organic cinnamon and star anise from Vietnam's mountainous provinces. Over a decade, they have partnered with 3,000 farmer households, cultivating an ecosystem of shared sustainability. Through awareness campaigns and hands-on experiences, Vinasamex ensures 100% of households in their value chain practice organic, chemical-free farming. Their IFS (International Featured Standard) certification highlights their commitment to quality and safety, allowing their products to reach global organic supermarket shelves. Remarkably, marginalized farmers' incomes have soared from USD 250 to USD 5000 per hectare. This transformation has enriched lives, improved healthcare and education, and uplifted entire communities. In turn, this inclusive approach significantly contributed to their total revenue increase of 231% from 2018 to 2021.


The inclusive business model serves as a compass guiding enterprises toward a balanced future, where success is no longer defined by the Profit alone. With a shared commitment to the Triple Bottom Line—People, Planet, and Profit—businesses embrace inclusivity and step into a new era of purposeful impact, where economic prosperity coalesces with social well-being and environmental responsibility.


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