KARANGASEM, Indonesia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--East Bali Cashews (EBC), a social enterprise that is Bali’s first large-scale, environmentally friendly cashew processing facility, is expanding its assistance to the Desa Ban community by launching a development project that will enable farmers to collect and sell more products to generate greater income, thus providing them with an increased opportunity to rise out of poverty.
“There are three major factors that are keeping farmers locked in their current situation: a lack of education, a shortage of capital, and the inexistence of market linkage for their products. We are looking to see how we can change that,” said Aaron Fishman, CEO of EBC.
EBC, founded in 2012, employs more than 350 people -- 90% of which are women -- in a village where average income is less than US$2 per day. The growth of the company and its social impact was greatly accelerated by a partnership in which global investment firm KKR and Impact Investment Exchange (IIX) provided technical assistance to EBC as it was looking for investment to grow its business. Just one year after its founding, EBC raised US$900,000 in investment, and in 2014, received an additional US$1.5 million in investment.
In 2014, EBC also expanded its social footprint in Desa Ban to open an early learning center to offer children within the community a comprehensive pre-elementary school education. AnaKardia Kids started with 20 students and now serves more than 60 children a day.
“I commend the energy and commitment that Aaron and his team brings to the project. I hope all the new ventures bear fruit,” said Joaquin Monserrate, Consulate General of the United States of America in Surabaya, Indonesia, who attended the event commemorating the launch of the new community development project at EBC’s Desa Ban facilities.
“East Bali Cashews is helping local underprivileged communities develop skills, add value to their products and expand their markets. American investors like East Bali Cashews and KKR embody the values of social responsibility and community involvement that is so prevalent among US investors in Indonesia and elsewhere,” Consul General Monserrate added.
To continue on its mission to improve the livelihoods of Desa Ban villagers, EBC is now educating farmers about sustainable beekeeping and hive management techniques to create an additional crop which would improve the living standards on their existing farms.
EBC is working to develop a consumer cooperative amongst smallholder farmers in Desa Ban to leverage economies of scale to provide education, access to capital, and markets, offers an effective way to increase farm profitability and, in turn, improve livelihoods of local families. Next, it must raise the funds to do so.
The goal is to enable Desa Ban farmers to transform one hectare of fallow land into flowering fields, to effectively pollinate their farmland and produce up to 20 kilos of honey every season.
For additional information, please visit East Bali Cashews’ website at www.eastbalicashews.com.