By The Nation
The partnership generates a steady income for the families, who each earn up to Bt15,000 per month for rearing organic hens. The initiative is part of the retailer’s commitment to end-to-end supply chain improvement to uplift the quality of fresh food while keeping prices low for customers.
“We are committed to providing great quality products at affordable prices for our customers. By working closely with our suppliers at every link of the supply chain, especially at the source, we can ensure product quality and safety are consistent with our standards. As Thais become increasingly health conscious and aware of food safety, organic products are becoming increasingly popular,” says the chain’s Pornpen Nartpiriyarat.
“For our organic eggs, we have partnered with Hilltribe Organics, which works with a network of hilltribe families on Doi Wawee, to rear organic hens and produce organic eggs for Tesco Lotus. Aside from being able to provide our customers with quality products, we are also helping to generate a decent income for these families.”
The organic eggs are produced by hens reared by Akha and Karen tribes. The farmers received training from Hilltribe Organics on the basics of organic farming, from organic feeds, farming management to quality checks. Every egg bears a farm number, which allows traceability of every single egg back to the farm where it was laid.
Families living in Huay Nam Yen village rear organic hens on farms covering around 1.5 – 2 rai of land. Forty-seven farms have joined the project, each raising 700-800 hens. Families now earn between Bt10,000 to Bt15,000 monthly from the organic eggs produced. Collectively, the farmers produce around 110,000 eggs per week, around 85,000 of which are sold.
Tesco Lotus buys around 15,000 eggs per week, while the rest is supplied to hotels, restaurants or sold under the Hilltribe Organics brand.
Maa-Beu Sanchokearun, a 62 year-old Karen woman, said that her family used to engage in slash-and-burn agriculture growing corn and peanuts and using a lot of pesticides. Not only was the money not good, their health also suffered from being exposed to toxins. Being involved in this programme has helped improve their quality of life tremendously.
Pukkam Lipo, a Karen farmer, used to earn Bt200-300 per day doing odd jobs. When he learned that his fellow villagers were making a living rearing organic hens, he joined the programme. He and his children now look after their hens and earn more income than before.