STNF Team Launches Business Initiative to Support Local Farmers

Jordy Muus

August 31, 2021

Since the beginning of 2021, the same team that founded STNF has now launched a business initiative named Vialanga to support small-scale local farmers.

Even though Vialanga is a commercial initiative, they do not believe in maximizing profits. Instead, they focus on the long term because supporting local farmers now will help protect the environment and benefit local farmers, society, and the business economically.

"We are building the bridge between modern agricultural knowledge and where it has the most impact. Therefore we have worked hard to build a trustworthy reputation with hundreds of local farmers and aim to establish local farming coöperations. Both to serve our partners with a reliable supply chain and to help educate local farmers to reduce deforestation and poverty." - Jordy Muus, co-founder of Vialanga

Small-scale local farmers are crucial to conservation efforts and to close the global food shortage gap.

Local farmers in Ecuador are currently strongly overlooked by society, even though they have so much to offer. This is because Ecuador has one of the most favorable climates for agriculture globally. However, it is also one of the most biodiverse places globally.

Small traditional farmers in poor, remote regions in Ecuador have not had the education to farm sustainably because they do not have the funds. The lack of education on modern farming techniques causes them only to use their farmland for a few harvests before they have to start moving into a new land, which is often primary rainforest, to farm. At the same time, they cannot stop farming because it is the main economic driver for these populations. Without it, they will not be able to sustain themselves and eventually starve.

It is a problem that is not often highlighted. Still, poverty among local farmers in highly biodiverse countries, like Ecuador, is a significant cause of deforestation and biodiversity loss, which is ironic considering all the highly innovative and modern agricultural techniques built around land optimization. A small country like the Netherlands can use the same piece of land for decades; with today's technology and knowledge, they can even restore depleted soil. However, the amount of biodiversity that can be saved with these techniques compared to the impact it can have in a country like Ecuador is minimal.

The modern world has developed agricultural techniques that significantly optimize land usage. Compared to regions with a lack of these modern agricultural techniques, the differences are immense. In most instances, modern agriculture can increase yield a hundred, if not a thousand, times compared to those lacking knowledge. Ironically, regions with the highest rate of biodiversity in the world are threatened by poor agricultural practices, whereas areas with barely any biodiversity left can farm the most efficiently.

We have the knowledge and technology to reduce deforestation by poor agricultural practices significantly and at the same time also reduce poverty. Vialanga aims to build this bridge that can help achieve this by working with local farmers and helping to educate them and providing them with the technology to earn and grow significantly more with significantly less land.

Apart from this, the knowledge and technology can help restore land that has been greatly deprived of nutrition and where nothing grows anymore. This land, in turn, can be given back to nature and, in time, become a rainforest again.

Vialanga has already managed to build a network with hundreds of small-scale local farmers in some of the most remote and poor areas in Ecuador to achieve these essential goals. They have specialized in the cultivation of malanga. After the malanga has been harvested, it is exported to the US or processed into flour.

Vialanga is the first business that distributes malanga flour in Europe under the brand name 'Mama Langa.' They also aim to introduce the malanga root to the European market. The proceeds from the malanga cultivation help finance the significant goals of educating local farmers on a large scale and making modern technology available to them to optimize their land usage and restore exploited lands significantly.

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