Cargill and Heifer International want to transform 100 million lives by helping smallholder farmers raise chickens and eggs. In an initiative announced last week at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Global Food Security Symposium, the food giant and the nonprofit said they are teaming up to bring financial and technical assistance to women farmers in Kenya, India and Mexico. The Hatching Hope initiative “will drive awareness of the nutritional benefits of poultry and eggs and stoke demand through local and national education campaigns,” Cargill and Heifer said in a news release. “Farmers will be connected to markets and equipped with the goods and services they need to be successful participants in the poultry value chain.” Chuck Warta, president of Cargill’s premix and nutrition business, told Agri-Pulse on the sidelines of the symposium in Washington the effort grew out of Cargill’s desire to engage its employees. “Our employees grew up on family farms,” Warta said. “They’re passionate about this. They look for ways to give back to our communities.” Warta also said Cargill is “not bashful” about its desire for participants to become customers of Cargill Animal Nutrition or suppliers in the future. “It may take 30 years, it may take three years, we don’t know, but we should be doing it with the intent that we can create customers for the industry we’re in,” he said. The partners plan to work with 4 million smallholder farmers by 2030 in order to benefit 100 million people in the communities surrounding those farmers. Work began in India last fall with 300,000 farmers. The companies are inviting other companies or organizations to participate.

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