Food manufacturing company Kellogg has teamed up with TechnoServe, an NGO focused on entrepreneurial initiatives in Third World areas, to launch an initiative helping female smallholder farmers receive training in climate-smart agriculture.
The initiative was unveiled on March 8, International Women’s Day. The work will predominately be focused in India to help 12,000 women who are smallholder farmers get access to tools, financing and agricultural inputs. A program will also be created in South Africa to train 400 women in improving the quality and quantity of their yields.
According to GreenBiz, the number of smallholder farmers around the world has been on the rise, and almost half of them are women. In developing countries where smallholding is a common practice, men are typically the ones trained in business transactions and financing. About half of India’s population is a part of smallholder families, and much of this group suffers from extreme poverty.
Diane Holdorf, Kellogg’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said in the GreenBiz report, “We know that in many of these societies, these women face very significant challenges; they lack access to training, lack access to financing and lack access to seeds that would really help them to improve their agricultural yields and livelihoods.”
Kellogg, like most multinational food companies, relies on international farmers to grow its ingredients. In India, GreenBiz reports that roughly 23,258 smallholder farmers supply the honey, wheat, rice, and maize that Kellogg uses in its nearby production.
About a year and a half ago, when the U.N. and the global business community began drafting Sustainable Development Goals to address world poverty, Kellogg investigated how to help female smallholder farmers. Kellogg then began a pilot program with TechnoServe to teach 3,000 smallholder farmers about sustainable farming, and now have established this official initiative.
With global warming becoming a growing issue, many farmers around the world are challenged with shorter planting seasons, droughts or floods. As a result, according to GreenBiz, Kellogg believes that helping smallholder farmers adjust will be both good business and good corporate citizenship.
– Kerri Whelan