Contact: Susan Eich, Cargill, 952-742-6245, [email protected] 

Cargill has launched a new partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) to improve food security and nutrition in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which suffers from high levels of malnutrition among women and children. Cargill is contributing $3 million to the two-year fast-track project, which will be jointly implemented by the Madhya Pradesh government and the World Food Programme, and is also supported by the Government of Japan. The project was announced by the Honorable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan at a ceremony in Bhopal, India. The project primarily aims to help reduce child malnutrition and break the vicious cycle of nutritional deficiency. The project is expected to benefit about 1 million people, especially children under the age of six.

To achieve these objectives, the project includes the training of government workers for increased efficiency in services, food fortification for better nutrition, the promotion of safe drinking water to bring down associated morbidity, and the establishment of household kitchen gardens to promote a healthy diet as well as provide a means of earning income.

Under this project, alternative employment opportunities also will be provided to local women’s groups who will be empowered to improve their understanding of nutrition and hygienic practices for the overall improved health of women and children.

“We are very encouraged by the support given to us by the state government of Madhya Pradesh as well as private and public sector donors. I am confident that, through this project, we will be able to reach out to some of the most vulnerable so that they are able to lead healthier and more productive lives,” said Mihoko Tamamura, WFP Representative for India.

“Cargill is proud to be a partner of this project to help make a significant difference to the lives of some of India’s most vulnerable. We are confident that the combined efforts of the state government and WFP will realize fast and effective outcomes. Cargill hopes that the success of this project will enable the development of a scalable model for India to improve nutrition and food security,” said Siraj Chaudhry, country representative, Cargill India.

Cargill’s project partnership with the WFP is part of its “Nourishing India” initiative that unites the company’s various programs to address nutrition through fortifying edible oil, improving access to nutritious food and engaging stakeholders to share the company’s expertise and insights for realizing a safe and secure food supply. Cargill has supported the World Food Programme for nearly 10 years to improve nutrition, health and educational opportunities for children in Central America, Africa and Asia. Over this timeframe, Cargill has contributed approximately $8 million to WFP’s school meals, hygiene and sanitation, childhood nutrition and emergency relief programs.

In Madhya Pradesh, under-nutrition is a major public health challenge. An undernourished child is unable to develop properly and suffers damage to cognitive development that is, tragically, irreversible. Interventions, therefore, must focus on the early window of opportunity in a child’s life. Adequate healthcare and access to safe drinking water and sanitation are other important factors that contribute to a child’s improved growth and overall development.

About the World Food Programme

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

About Cargill Community Giving

Cargill gives back to communities by contributing 2 percent of its global consolidated pre-tax earnings (based on a three-year trailing average). Cargill donated $57.5 million in 54 countries during its 2010 fiscal year. We provide support to organizations, projects and programs that fall in three focus areas: nutrition and health; education; and environmental stewardship.

About Cargill

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit http://www.cargill.com/.