Cargill, Inc., Minneapolis, and Heifer International, a Little Rock, Ark.-based non-profit organization, joined forces to create The Hatching Hope Global Initiative, which aims to improve the nutrition and economic livelihoods of 100 million people by 2030 through the production, promotion and consumption of poultry.

Hatching Hope will work directly with women smallholder farmers, initially in India, Mexico and Kenya.

"We believe that the key to ending hunger and poverty is for farmers to be able to earn a living income," says Pierre Ferrari, president and CEO of Heifer International. "Through Hatching Hope, we're investing in smart, resourceful women farmers, working with them to improve their products and access new markets. We're excited to launch Hatching Hope, as it can be quickly scaled up, supporting more farmers around the world."

Hatching Hope will drive awareness of the nutritional benefits of poultry and eggs and stoke demand through local and national education campaigns. Meanwhile, farmers will connect to markets and become equipped with the goods and services needed to be successful participants in the poultry value chain.

"Millions of people worldwide go hungry every day, and lack access to nutrients they need to grow and thrive," says Chuck Warta, president of Cargill's pre-mix and nutrition business. "While donations of food and money provide short-term relief, we can create sustainable change by teaching and sharing what we know and helping transform subsistence farmers into productive, successful entrepreneurs who have the economic means to feed their children, send them to school and lift their families and communities out of poverty. We believe the 800 million smallholder farmers around the world need to be part of the solution to help us feed 10 billion people by 2050."

Heifer maintains long-term presence, development expertise and strong relationships in rural communities that build social capital, while Cargill boasts best-in-class expertise in animal health and productivity with deep knowledge in the poultry industry.

"We think poultry offers a unique set of advantages that set farmers up for success," says Warta. "Meat and eggs present an opportunity to involve all members of the household – from women to children to the elderly. The poultry growing cycle is also fast-paced, so it can deliver meat and eggs quickly and provide a valuable nutritional source – particularly for children."