Decade of Impact: CARE-Cargill partnership reaches more than 2.2 million people worldwide

May 22, 2018

A Cargill-CARE rural development partnership has reached more than 2.2 million people in 10 years, helping build more resilient communities in 10 countries through improved food and nutrition security, increased farmer productivity and greater access to markets. 

The partnership, which started more than 50 years ago, melds Cargill’s expertise in food and agriculture with CARE’s decades of success in community-led rural development. Together, Cargill and CARE are empowering farmers, families and communities to be more socially and financially resilient.

The program in each of the countries—Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Brazil—has been unique and customized to meet regional needs yet drive common results by: 

  • Building production capacity of smallholder farmers,
  • Connecting producers to markets, including a market with Cargill,
  • Improving nutrition and food security of communities, provide access to education and support better sanitation and health.

“For Cargill it’s about our purpose to be the leader in nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Cargill CEO Dave MacLennan. “Our partnership with CARE connects our purpose and our business interests to the communities and people that need it most.”

Connecting business needs to community impact

The partnership has been successful because it directly connects Cargill’s corporate responsibility and business interests. Cargill has intentionally partnered with CARE to design programs that address important social and sustainability issues in areas where we operate – the same communities where our employees live and where their children attend school, said Michelle Grogg, Cargill’s vice president for corporate responsibility and sustainable development.

Cargill employees are an essential part too: Employees volunteer their time, expertise and passion – working with people one on one to help lift individuals and families out of poverty.

“When we have our employees visible on the ground, we’re sending a message to the communities,” said Maria Nelly Rivas, Cargill’s Corporate Affairs director for Central America. “We aren’t just an anonymous multinational company. We are part of your country, we are committed to being here and we want to thrive together. It is not about a tag line; it is about real commitment.”

Some of the program highlights:

  • India: Between 2008-2013, we facilitated the creation of 700 community-based groups, engaging nearly 11,000 community members and reaching more than 9,000 households.
  • Ghana: We promoted more prosperous, sustainable and resilient cocoa farming communities through a community development approach to improving cocoa production, reducing child labor, increasing financial access and encouraging education in some of the country’s most impoverished regions.
  • Central America: We engaged farmers and microentrepreneurs to ensure food security for their families, equal access to markets and increased resilience to climate change. The program has reached more than 87,000 people directly and 700,000 people indirectly in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In the last 18 months, farmer associations and producers generated over US $2.5 million in income through the program.

Strong partnerships lead to sustainable change

Michelle Nunn, CARE USA president and CEO, said partners like Cargill are essential to realize the full impact and scale of their ambition.

“Although we operate in 90 countries, we can’t begin to actually cover the supply chain for instance that Cargill’s work does. When we work together we can get so much more done, and it’s more sustainable, long lasting and drives systemic change.”

Moving forward, Cargill aims to create a more focused connection with its businesses and to set strong benchmarks on improvements to measure.

“We are working on how to make this partnership even more impactful,” Grogg said. “We have worked over the years to strengthen the goals and outcomes of our partnership and ensure we are aligned with our business priorities.”