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Investing in Central America 

Cargill discusses its commitment with Northern Triangle presidents 

November 25, 2014

While rich in history, culture and natural beauty, the countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – face many economic and social challenges that adversely affect their citizens’ quality of life.

In recent years, almost nine percent of the population has chosen to leave. In large part, this flight of people stems from the lack of job opportunities, as well as widespread violence and a limited supply of quality services in healthcare, education, nutrition and child development.

Against this unsettling backdrop, the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have formally launched the “Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle.” The Plan includes commitments to take steps that will promote human well-being in the region; improve the work and business climate; ensure more effective government; and create jobs, reduce poverty, and expand economic opportunities for all.

Since it established itself in this region in the 1950s, Cargill has been investing in the economic, social and environmental development of Central America. On Nov. 14, 2014, representatives from Cargill, including Dr. Bruce Burdett, President of Cargill Central America, and Devry Boughner Vorwerk, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, met in Washington, D.C., with President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, President Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala, President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, for a forum titled “Investing in Central America: Unlocking Opportunities for Growth.”

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Burdett’s remarks:

“For the last 21 years, I have had the privilege of living in Honduras, heading Cargill´s operations throughout Central America. Cargill has a long history  of investing in Central America, going back over 60 years. We trade agricultural commodities both into and out of each of the three members of the Northern Triangle, and have substantial investments in poultry, further processed meats and animal feed plants, as well as joint ventures there, employing over 10,000 associates. Operating in Central America has its challenges, but in general Central America has been and continues to be a good investment for us.

The future for the Northern Triangle is in many ways at a crossroads. We all know the tremendously difficult situation that exists for a large part of the population. But we also now have governments that are committed to real change as outlined in the Alliance for Prosperity document. Their recent achievements have created a real expectation in the population as a whole of a brighter future, and it’s essential that we deliver on that expectation. In our opinion, we need to not only continue to support the efforts on corruption, security and social justice, but also help promote stronger economic growth, as well as dramatically improve education opportunities.”

Cargill is committed to working with governments and NGOs to help bring the Alliance for Prosperity Plan to life, and will continue its longstanding work to improve the lives of the people of Central America.

For example, in Honduras where Cargill has operated since 1969, the company has supported pediatric care in Mario Catarino Rivas public hospital and Ruth Paz Hospital through funds and medical equipment, allowing more than 10,000 children access to affordable health care. In Guatemala, Cargill has helped more than 900 smallholder farmers increase their incomes through its support of the agriculture and poultry sectors. These are just two examples of many that demonstrate Cargill’s desire to help its employees, customers, local communities, and other partners in Central America thrive every day.