Neil and Palmmy were MBA students in 2011 when they learned that Thai farmers were among the poorest in the world, earning just $0.40/day, as a result of poor yield, rising costs, and inefficient agricultural systems. This problem affects 17 million farmers in Thailand alone and it is getting worse as farmers’ debts have tripled in the last decade resulting in a multitude of social problems.
Wanting to create a sustainable, scalable, and irreversible solution to such a problem, they founded Siam Organic, a social enterprise that solves the problem of farmer poverty through innovative organic products with global appeal, starting with Jasberry® rice. Beginning with just 25 farmers in the first year, Siam Organic is now working with over 2,500 farmers, helping them out of poverty, one grain at a time.
Some of the topics that Neil and I discussed:
- Why Neil is an Unreasonable Fellow and why that is not what you think it is
- Some of the people that inspired Neil – Muhammad Yunus and Seub Nakhasathien
- His experiences in Australia and how an impactful conversation with his high school friend Duncan changed his life
- It is possible to do well and do good at the same time
- How his investment banking experience helped him meet the best rice scientist in the world
- How he spent a year living with farmers in Issan to gain trust and learn about the real lives of farmers
- Neil never mentioned the awards and recognition that Siam Organic has received, but I am putting it here anyway