Minneapolis — Cargill, Inc. is renewing its Rural Development Initiative with a three-year, $7.5 million investment to improve the lives of farmers in seven developing countries.
The new investment builds on the original initiative, a five-year, $10 million program that is in partnership with humanitarian organization CARE, according to the company.
The program includes training for cocoa farmers, particularly in West Africa, were company employees teach farmers techniques to improve quantity and quality of cocoa beans as well as helping them earn premiums for using sustainable farming practices.
With a focus on reducing chronic hunger, improving nutrition and empowering rural communities to address issues such as child labor and education, the program will continue to operate in India, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, Cargill reports. The first wave of the initiative also benefited communities in Brazil.
To date, the initiative has reached more than 100,000 people including helping 42,000 children finish primary school, improved the health and nutrition of 30,000 children and trained more than 6,000 teachers, Cargill reports. In addition, farmer training has helped some 27,000 farmers and their families increase their incomes.
Emery Koenig, Cargill vice-chairman and chief risk officer, says: “Rural families in developing countries will thrive when they can sustainably increase farm production, effectively access markets, become food and nutrition secure, send their children to school and live in healthy, well-governed communities.”