Farmers are the backbone of global food security. We’re improving their livelihoods through initiatives that make farming better and smarter.
Transforming agriculture starts with being a trusted partner to farmers. We work with and source from farmers across multiple supply chains and geographies, working closely with them to build long-term relationships based on responsible business practices and trust.
Our sustainability programmes aim to enhance the livelihoods of farmers and improve living conditions in the rural communities where many of them live. Access to knowledge, skills, inputs, and tools are vital ingredients for success, alongside close collaboration with governments, civil society, and other partners. In 2022, we supported nearly 400,000 smallholder farmers through our livelihood programmes.
Fostering Livelihoods & Social Equity
By supporting rural women with education and training initiatives, we’re creating generations of entrepreneurs with the means to improve their own livelihoods and contribute to the well-being of their communities. In Côte d'Ivoire, from 2018 to 2022, we mobilised and trained 6,000 community members, primarily women, to form 178 Village Savings and Lending Associations (VSLA). Our target is to reduce social inequities for 200,000 women, youth, and marginalised groups across the world.
Food Security for All
We contribute to food security for agri-farming communities through the access and availability of nutritious foods. By addressing nutrition, food-focused income diversification and crop support, our Food Secure Future programme aims to improve food security for 200,000 vulnerable farmer households.
Reducing Post-Harvest Loss
Crop losses devastate a farmer’s income and comes at a cost to the environment. Our goal is to halve harvest and post-harvest losses in our smallholder supply chains. We help farmers implement practices such as mechanised tools and modified scythes, which have helped rice farmers reduce harvest & post-harvest losses by 50% in our direct supply chains.
Providing Access to Clean Water
Access to clean water and sanitation is an area of continuous development. We’ve established Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) guidelines to ensure that our employees and thousands of people in farming communities have access to clean water and sanitation. We’ve built or rehabilitated 13 water points in four countries, reaching more than 9,000 people.
Creating a Food Secure Future for All
Our Food Secure Future programme improves nutritious food access and availability in farming communities by focusing on nutrition, income diversification, and crop support. Our initiatives promote food security and empower communities for a better future. In 2022, the programme reached 33,000 households in seven countries, including:
Côte d’Ivoire: 200 women in farmer households were trained on breastfeeding benefits and techniques, along with complementary feeding cooking demos.
India: 1,200 women farmers were trained on nutrition. We worked with volunteers from the National Rural Livelihood Mission to improve access to nutrient-rich greens through backyard spinach cultivation.
Nigeria: 700 farmers benefited from biofortified inputs and training on enriched recipes.
Peru: 500 women in farming communities received nutrition education and cooking demonstrations using nutrient-rich quinoa and local vegetables.
Strengthening Local Production at the Grassroots
In Nigeria, our Seeds for the Future Foundation is fostering a brighter future for the farmers and communities we work with. Established in 2022, it supports the government's priorities in key areas such as agriculture, food security, economic diversification, women's empowerment, and health.
The programme focuses on four pillars: boosting local wheat production, providing education and training for youths, empowering women in farming communities, and promoting health and nutrition nationwide. This is part of our flagship N300 million wheat value chain initiative which aims to support farms and farmers in strengthening local wheat production.
Making Every Grain of Rice Count
Around 30% of food is lost or wasted before reaching plates. We’re identifying food and crop loss hotspots and working with farmers to address these losses. In collaboration with Wageningen University, we pinpointed that Nigerian rice farmers lose a third of their production during harvesting, threshing and transport. We partnered with the Japanese government to provide mechanical harvesters and threshers to 700 farmers. Mechanisation can help rice farmers save almost half a tonne of rice and reduce emissions by 14%. We plan to expand this approach to other crops and countries.
Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
We’re upskilling women in Nigeria through our Crown Flour Angels initiative by equipping them with valuable skills in baking. Armed with their newfound skills and certification, these women had the opportunity to seek employment in the hospitality sector or set-up their own bakeries. Launched in 2021, the initiative has empowered 120 women with the means to be financially independent, and give them the opportunity to better contribute to the wellbeing of their families, communities and economic growth of Nigeria.
Crop Insurance for Smallholder Farmers
Many smallholder farmers around the world are unable to access affordable crop insurance. Under the 'Pay-at-harvest' crop insurance initiative, we have partnered with Heifer International and Pula to provide farmers in Nigeria with innovative crop insurance based on Area Yield Index. In 2022, its pilot year, approximately 3,110 rice farmers received 113 million Naira (amounting to average of US$83 per farmer) in insurance pay-outs to protect against yield losses from dry spells, floods, pests and plant diseases.
Scaling Up Mechanisation
To reduce the need for farmers to rely on intense labour resources, we are testing labour-saving technology, such as modified scythes and scaling up access to mechanisation. This enables farmers to increase their yield and add new revenue streams. Through our Gouassou programme, some 300 farmers and 32 rubber cooperatives in Côte d'Ivoire received 2,500 pieces of tapping equipment needed for harvest.
Promoting Sustainable Farming Practices
We take a hands-on approach to sustainability by providing tailored support to train smallholder farmers in Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) to equip them with the knowledge and resources to farm safely and sustainably.
With GAP training, our cotton farmers have enhanced their incomes through changes in yield and resilience through the adoption of sustainable farming practices. Measures include land preparation, weed management, soil and moisture conservation, integrated nutrient, pest and disease management, as well as decent work practices.
Increases in yields by 15-20% is translating to up to an additional US$300 of income per farmer, per year. Moving forward we strive to train all cotton farmers in our supply chain annually.