World Monitor Magazine WM_KIOGE 2018_Web - Page 56

Social responsibility Chilik farmers project In 2011, Philip Morris Kazakhstan developed a comprehensive Rural Development Program aimed at improving the well- being of farming communities by introducing effective farm management techniques and innovative cash crop growing practices while supporting smallholder farmers to grow food crops. An Agribusiness Center was opened in 2013 for farmers and the community and is a place for every farmer to ask for advice and get help. It is well-equipped with a demonstration field, training room, computer class and mini-laboratory to do soil fertility testing as well as opportunities to get advice on organic crops, safe fertilizers, rotation and other issues. Major results Trainings: On the basis of the Agribusiness Center, since 2013 nearly 60 training sessions for more than 1,500 farmers have been organized together with experts from the University of Florida, University of Wisconsin, the Kazakh National Agrarian University and DAMU Entrepreneurship Development Foundation. Cooperation: In August 2017, the most active participants of the project created and officially registered a cooperative 54 world monitor called ‘Chilik Farmers’ (26 members). They receive relevant knowledge on the Agribusiness Center on how to manage, organize logistics, keep financial records, etc. in a cooperative. This mechanism helps secure project sustainability in the long run – cooperative members are now running their own business, have regular meetings, sign contracts with supermarkets, decide on logistic options and develop future plans. Direct sales mechanism (exclusion of intermediaries in supply chain) has been implemented in 2015 by signing an agreement with Arzan supermarkets in Almaty. In 2018, the agreement has been signed with METRO supermarket chain, thus helping to attract more farmers to the direct sales mechanism. This mechanism helps to increase profitability of farmers as well as provides an opportunity to Almaty citizens to buy fresh and local vegetables. The project has been recognized by the President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2015 and Received an International CSR Excellence Awards in 2018.