Women in the CARE-Cargill Nourishing the Future project told us, "I feel more lively because now I know how to take control of my account, of my business earnings and over everything, how to administrate everything and be able to use it." Being empowered and understanding how to build your own business goes a long way to creating a more positive outlook on life. Of course, doubling income and cutting food insecurity in half didn’t hurt, either.
With funding from Cargill, Nourishing the Future (NTF) worked with 19,541 farmers, children, and women micro-entrepreneurs across some of the most marginalized communities in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. From 2013-2016, NTF fostered more prosperous and resilient farming communities.
What did we accomplish?
- Increased income: Households in Guatemala and Honduras more than doubled their income, with income increasing by 22.5% in Nicaragua.
- Greater access to credit: In Guatemala and Honduras, the proportion of farmers who improved their access to credit increased by 2.3% and 14% respectively. In Honduras, access to credit increased by 37.2% among women micro entrepreneurs.
- Improved production: In Guatemala, there was a 13.8% increase in green bean yield, a 2.9% increase in black berry yield, and a 3.6% increase in pea yield. In Honduras yellow maize yield increased more than five-fold, with white maize yield increasing by 16% and red bean yield by 23%. Sorghum production in Nicaragua increased by 32.5%, and was 45% higher than the national average.
- Healthier diets: Dietary diversity increased by 16.6% in Guatemala, 45% in Honduras, and 20.1% in Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, 90% of households were eating the minimum threshold of 7 food groups.
- More food secure households: Household food insecurity was halved in Guatemala, decreasing from an average of 5 months of food insecurity to 2 months at end line. In Honduras and Nicaragua food insecurity was reduced by 19% and 13.69% respectively.
- More empowered women: Women’s empowerment increased 7% in Guatemala, 21% in Honduras, and 8% in Nicaragua according to CARE’s Women’s Empowerment Index.
How did we get there?
- Stronger linkages to markets: Connecting sorghum and yellow maize to Cargill’s supply chain resulted in the sale of 100% of Nicaragua’s sorghum production and 89.3% of Honduras's yellow maize production. In Guatemala, famers sold 12 times more green beans, 4 times more blackberries, and 8 times more peas to local markets compared to baseline. Farmers in Honduras sold 4 times more white maize and 4.2% more red beans by the end of the project.
- Broader access to inputs: Farmers in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua increased their access to inputs by 27.8%, 25.7%, and 34.8% respectively.
- Better agricultural practices: The number of farmers using agricultural techniques that will help them improve their production doubled in Honduras and Nicaragua. There was 26.1% increase in Guatemala, with 95% of the farmers applying improved practices.
- More creative nutrition education: the project included 25,833 in nutrition education, theatre sessions, games, and school gardens.
- Involving children and schools: The project used 63 schools as a platform for nutrition promotion, training teachers and students on optimal nutrition practices and providing opportunities for broader community engagement. Communities were given access to 61 school vegetable gardens, a mechanism the project used to disseminate information regarding the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Working with private sector partners: Cargill Central America played an important role by leveraging their connections with governments and business partners and connecting farmers to the Cargill supply chain.