Every successful food business depends on successful farmers. Farmers whose income sustains their way of life, supports their families, educates their children and improves their communities.

We are a collaborative think-do-tank, founded by Mars Incorporated, here to ask the right questions, create solutions and inspire action. To build global supply chains that work for farmers and for business.

We're starting with farmers working in Mars' supply chains in developing countries. But, ultimately, we want to see everyone working in agricultural supply chains earn a sufficient income to enable a decent standard of living.

The challenge we face

Sustainable Development Goal 1 calls for no poverty. But today, an estimated 200 million* smallholder farmers are producing food within supply chains and far too many of them live in poverty. The current supply chain model isn't working and it's time for change.

To feed the world, the food industry needs farmers who are thriving, efficient and productive. That means farmers need an income that enables a decent standard of living.

To get there, we'll need bold new ideas and solutions. Because economic poverty won't be solved with the same thinking that perpetuates it.

* Reference: World Bank, 2017

Some of the many factors affecting farmer income

More information on the factors affecting farmer income will come soon

What's needed
for change?

Impact at scale

There are not enough examples of successful strategies and business models to significantly increase farmer incomes to the level and scale required.

Outcomes over activities

So far, strategies have been focussed on activities instead of outcomes, and aren't designed to deliver the scale of change we need.

An agreed goal

There's been a lack of full consensus around what the long-term goal for farmer income should be.

Clear roles and deeper collaboration

The challenge is too big for any one organisation to solve alone. It needs all of us — businesses, NGOs and governments — to convene and collaborate, each playing our own unique role.

Our approach

Our approach will be evidence-based and collaborative. That's the only way we'll overcome our collective challenge.

Here's what we'll do:

Ask the right questions

We'll synthesize the data that's already out there. And we'll ask the right questions to generate fundamental missing insights with our partners and key stakeholders.

Create solutions

We'll test measurable frameworks and new business models. By understanding what works and what doesn't, we'll create solutions that can be replicated and scaled. This will start with Mars, who will put our insights into action through their sustainable sourcing strategies.

Inspire action

We will share what we learn to spark action and commitment from businesses, governments and NGOs so that together, we can all build supply chains where everyone thrives.

Our small, but crucial advisory network of leading experts will help shape and guide our collective vision and ensure our research delivers the right action. We'll be announcing our advisory board members and the first phase of questions we plan to address soon.

The Farmer Income Lab and Mars

Farmer poverty is an issue for the entire agricultural industry, which poses a serious risk to long-term business resilience and growth. If it isn't fixed, Mars and others simply won't be able to buy the raw ingredients — like cocoa, rice and vanilla — that they depend on to create the brands their consumers love.

So the Lab has been founded by Mars as an incubator for insights that can be put into action in through sustainable sourcing strategies that may start with Mars but could extend much further. This is certainly not a one company agenda. It's a challenge that every business who relies on farmers in developing countries faces. And it's one that needs all of us to play a role in solving.