Right from the start, our focus here at YVY has been on small farms. We believe in an inclusive industry, where farmers can be part of the growth of medicinal cannabis worldwide. But there’s a lot more to it.
Small producers in Uruguay often struggle to generate a decent income. With cannabis, they can greatly increase their income and standard of living, since cannabis tends to command a higher price than other crops. With cannabis, farmers can also diversify their matrix of production and therefore reduce risk.
Quality is another reason we focus on small farms: by growing small batches, small farms can focus on quality, spending more time on each plant and our customers get products of artisan quality that also adhere to international standards such as Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP). It is quality over quantity that drives us at YVY. What’s more, our customers have full transparency into the origins of their products, they know who grew it, how and where.
Our emphasis on small-scale farming is also linked to the fact that small producers and family farms have been identified as key components of sustainable development and reducing climate change. So by shifting locally to this agricultural model, we can play our part in making the world a better place.
Growing cannabis helps small farmers professionalize. We are training our farmers how to cultivate cannabis but also on how to cultivate organically and regeneratively, with a big emphasis on soil health. We will also be using technology and software to help us manage the operations and collect essential data. Our long-term aim is also to train farmers in basic finance and business management, too.
Growing cannabis has some other less obvious but equally impressive impact. For example, with women and youth. Two of our current farms here in Uruguay are run by women who form part of a cooperative. We also see our model as a way for young families to move out of the cities and into the countryside where they can cultivate organically and potentially earn good money from it. A much-needed incentive to get young people into the countryside.
However, there are huge barriers for farmers to benefit from cannabis production here in Uruguay. Licenses are complicated, and processes lengthy and expensive. There is also a lack of cannabis cultivation know-how and experience. Genetics are hard to get hold of and very expensive. International certifications are also a hurdle and so is access to markets and buyers. Our expert team at YVY are specialized in many of these areas, so we deal with them so that our farmers don’t have to. That’s part of the beauty of our model.
There are so many reasons to work with small farmers in cannabis. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) summarizes it nicely: “Family farmers, considering their multi-dimensional nature, play a key role in contributing to food security and nutrition, managing natural resources, ensuring the cohesion of rural communities and preserving cultural heritage.” We have everything to win by empowering and working alongside small family farms. Our customers can enjoy the best quality products while contributing to generate real impact locally and globally. A dream worth working hard
for, wouldn’t you agree?