Location:Vilabouly - Laos
Impact:500 farmers 2017
Crop:Citrus
Stage:Complete
Partners:MMG & Ironbark Citrus

WHY


With MMG’s Sepon mine looking to close the community development team were seeking to build a diverse sustainable economy beyond those linked to the mine operation.

After preliminary research it was found that many farmers in Laos struggled to grow enough rice to feed their families. Growing citrus was seen as a way to provide farmers with a basis to sustainably exit poverty, netting a tenfold increase in income over traditional crops.

Ironbark Citrus, a Queensland based citrus producing company, was looking for a region that could counter seasonal to their plantations. Laos, was a perfect location.

HOW


Ironbark Laos was launched in 2014 to enable smallholder families to grow citrus on a commercial basis, using best practice technology. The company operates a nursery, extension services as well as pack and export fruit.

Citrus is a highly-valued fruit product in Asian export markets with consistent high demand as well as several profitable market windows centred on a significant number of religious festivals. Ironbark Citrus has been supplying these markets for over 20 years, with a particular focus on Indonesia, Thailand, China and Taiwan. It has determined, from this experience, that the market values fruit with high sugar content, smooth appearance and a bright orange colour. In order to maximise revenue, Ironbark Laos’ production centres on producing fruit with the above characteristics.

WHAT


The business is the shared vision of Ironbark Citrus of Australia and MMG Mining. The first harvest is expected towards the end of 2017, and while the quantity and quality were still unknown, the local farmers were enthusiastic about their new crop.

Together the partners share an ambition to see Ironbark Laos create a permanent avenue from poverty for over 500 families.

WATCH IRONBARK VIDEO