International Women’s Day is approaching on March 8th. Last year, Kellogg, the popular and world-leading cereal company, and TechnoServe, a non-profit organization that develops business solutions to poverty, announced big news. Kellogg and TechnoServe will be expanding their training programs in India and South Africa to improve incomes for thousands of smallholder maize and wheat farmers.
Focusing particularly on women, Kellogg and TechnoServe have had a partnership since 2014, in which they mapped out the role of smallholder farmers and women in Kellogg’s global supply chain. They are working together to help achieve their Global 2020 Sustainability Goals.
These goals include supporting 500,000 farmers through partnerships, research, and training on climate-smart agriculture. The farmer training program was launched January 2015, and it has already trained nearly 3,500 smallholder farmers, of which almost 40% are women.
The new addition to this program includes a phase that will reach around 12,000 additional farmers in India, through “Centers of Excellence”, and 400 additional maize farmers in South Africa, with similar percentages of women.
“This program has given me hope. Hope that things can change, that my community can make progress, and that my farm can provide enough income to feed my family and send my children to school,” states Elsie Nosenga, a smallholder farmer in South Africa supporting 10 family members. Thanks to this program, she has learned how to maximize her crop yields, maintain farm and financial records, and manage her farm like a business.
These types of programs are critical due to the fact that women, who make up 43% of the agriculture labor force in developing countries, are specifically vulnerable to climate-induced economic shocks.
Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer, has stated, “Kellogg Company is helping improve the livelihoods of farming families and communities who grow our ingredients by focusing on smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, who contribute to the world’s food supply, but often lack access to important resources.”
Diane continues to say, “Kellogg recognizes that women play a significant role in agriculture, but in some countries still face challenges of injustice and inequality. With partners such as TechnoServe, we are identifying the parts of our supply chain with the highest prevalence of women and in partnership developing programs to help improve their livelihoods, families, and communities.”
TechnoServe CEO, William Warshauer, also had some encouraging things to say, claiming, “Investing in women farmers is not only smart business for leading food companies like Kellogg. It’s also absolutely essential if we want to ensure the sustainability of smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and our global food systems.”
Seeing this kind of encouragement toward women, especially in developing countries, is extremely important to recognize. These steps will lead to better lives for both men and women in these countries and give them the empowerment they need to be successful.
Kellogg Company and TechnoServe are demonstrating a great example of how positive and uplifting efforts can make an immense difference. If you are interested in supporting this cause, you can donate here.
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