Kolkata: Cargill and international development organization Heifer International together have been positively impacting local communities in India through the Hatching Hope Global Initiative.
Launched in November 2018, the project aims to improve nutrition and income levels through backyard poultry farming and increased consumption of poultry products in Mayurbhanj, Odisha.
Aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger, Hatching Hope has so far impacted over 30,000 farmer households through improved backyard poultry production, resulting in better flock health and bird size and improving income and nutrition across 1.5 million people in the district over two years.
Traditionally driven by women farmers, supporting backyard poultry production by Hatching Hope enhances gender equity across rural households in India.
The program has already trained over 1,600 Self Help Groups (SHG) to strengthen women-led institutions and facilitated building of new SHGs that can provide their members access to information, services and support needed to start their businesses. By removing barriers to women’s economic independence, Hatching Hope supports women farmers to become successful poultry producers, earn a living income and improve resilience for their communities.
Preliminary data collected on consumption and sale patterns from about 100 farmers suggests that the average consumption of protein rich food per household has been approximately 20% higher from the previous year.
This increase could be associated with improved awareness of nutritional benefits and adoption of improved poultry production promoted through the mass media campaign, augmenting accessibility of poultry production in the region. Adoption of improved production techniques has also supported farmers to avoid volatility in consumption and sale during unfavourable market conditions or disasters, thus making them more resilient.
Imre Havasi, managing director of Cargill’s Animal Nutrition business in India said, “Hatching Hope has been helping women backyard poultry farmers and lifting communities out of poverty in Odisha. Through the initiative, Cargill and Heifer have successfully been able to help farmers become sustainable, efficient animal producers & successful entrepreneurs, who are actively participating in the poultry value chain.”
In India, Hatching Hope has promoted improved poultry feed with the establishment of 30 small-scale feed mills at community level in Odisha. Using a formula jointly developed by the Heifer and Cargill India technical teams, the mills produce a locally prepared, high -quality and affordable feed mix that improves the health and weight of birds, while cultivating business opportunities for local producer entrepreneurs to meet the demand for poultry feed.
“Hatching Hope has supported smallholder farmers to become efficient producers and aware consumers, which has ensured sustainable incomes and food security for the most vulnerable producer communities”, said Avni Malhotra, country director of Heifer India. “This change has been possible through Heifer’s partnership development to increase investing in women-led institutions and promote entrepreneurship opportunities for women at the community level.”
Hatching Hope is also piloting small-scale hatcheries to increase poultry production by reducing the brooding period. The program also trains farmers in developing backyard poultry production as a family business and establishing Farmer Producer Organizations while connecting them to the poultry value chain by improving market access.
Through mass media and advocacy campaigns, communities in over 400 villages in Mayurbhanj have been educated about the nutritional benefits of poultry consumption. Further leveraging digital platforms and mass media channels this will be scaled to reach up to 3.2 million people in newer geographies in Odisha by 2022. Innovative tools like android application ‘Storyteller’, IoT toys and digital talking comics are being developed to maximize reach across local communities.
Working directly with women smallholder farmers in India, Mexico, and Kenya, Hatching Hope aims to improve nutrition and economic livelihoods of 100 million people globally by 2030 through production, promotion, and consumption of poultry. In India, the program will reach 62 million people.
Cargill’s work through this program is just one example of how Cargill is working with non-profit and NGO partners around the globe to ensure people have access to nutritious food. Across all the communities where Cargill’s employees live and work, the company provided more than 39 million meals to global and local food bank partners this past fiscal year. Cargill employees remain committed and energized to help ensure food security for their neighbours through personal and corporate monetary contributions paired with product donations.