This year, 2 expeditions are leaving to discover the circular economy in Asia. After Nepal, Clémence Robson, Julie Limasset and Virgil Hervagault are currently in New Delhi, the beginning of a two-month trip to India. The second expedition, composed of Clémence Gagnaire, Clémence Chatué and Manon Mangin, is now in Cambodia after having crossed Vietnam for one month. On the Parisian side, we welcome Julie Leroux, a new AgroParisTech graduate, who is in charge of setting up our new analysis tool. It will be tested by the two expeditions.
Expé1 met with 6 projects in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal. This small country located on the Himalayas between the two giants China and India, is at the beginning of its economic expansion. Agriculture remains mainly food-producing and the food industry is non-existent: processed food is imported from India. The projects encountered are therefore more oriented towards the management of plastic waste – a real environmental problem here, as well as the creation of cooperatives and technical and economic information centers for agriculture, which is still underdeveloped.
The Expé2 has just spent a month discovering projects in Vietnam! During our trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, we met 13 projects. All of them quite young – most of them were created less than a year ago, they are symbols of the exponential growth of the Vietnamese economy and of the growing interest of the population for the environment, especially in relation to plastic pollution.
After crossing the border a few days ago, we are now ready to set off to meet Cambodian initiatives!
#Expé1 – The Bazaar/ DV Excellus
The lack of a structured agricultural market in Nepal leads to significant daily price fluctuations. The bazaar, together with the Bazaar Agricultural Cooperative, has created a weekly market for vegetable producers in Pokhara. Produce comes from the Kaski district, where farmers’ property covers an average of 0.2 hectares (4 Ropani). The creation of the cooperative allows for joint purchases of agricultural inputs, which reduces costs for farmers. It also provides professionals with a regular supply. They are collaborating with DV Excellus, which is developing “Blooom”, a smartphone for agricultural professionals and buyers. For the moment, it provides a basic service to a network of 5000 farmers. The implementation of this application allows the collection of data on soils, crops and climate, and will provide personalized and environmentally friendly technical monitoring. In the long term, the goal is to expand throughout Nepal! The network will expand to 10,000 members next month.
#Expé2 – Greenjoy Straw
This Ho Chi Minh start-up produces straw from a hollow grass that has been growing for centuries on the banks of the Mekong River: Lepironia Articulata. The straws are grown naturally, without chemicals. After drying, they can be stored for 6 months until they are used. Then they can be decomposed under natural conditions in less than 5 days.
These single-use straws may not be the most suitable for personal consumption. However, they are a good substitute for Vietnamese stores and restaurants, which are fond of plastic straws.
Although it represents only 0.025 percent of the 8 tons of plastic dumped into the oceans each year (source: National Geographic), 8.3 billion straws still pollute our beaches. Green straws are a step towards a more sustainable world!
CirculAgronomie is an association created in 2016 by two AgroParisTech students as part of a gap year project. Our ambition is to link circular economy projects around the world in the fields of agriculture and food industry. We analyze their social and environmental impact and their reproducibility through the seven pillars of circular economy described by ADEME. To do so, students in gap year carry out expeditions to different countries every year. This year, we will be 5 students… in France!