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Building coops for a cause: Cargill and Heifer host first-ever Hatching Hope event in Cambodia

June 26, 2019

Down a gravel road just outside the Lberk village in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia, thirty Cargill Agriculture Supply Chain (CASC) employees walk in matching white Hatching Hope t-shirts to experience firsthand the ‘power of poultry’ to change lives. 

Cambodian farmer family with mother holding baby and father holding chicken  Following on the heels of Hatching Hope’s global launch in March, CASC employees raised their hands to be a part of the program’s goal to improve the lives of 100 million people by 2030. What better way to participate in an initiative rooted in poultry, than by building chicken coops! The CASC team rolled up their sleeves and ventured to the Lberk village, a rural community made up of poor but resourceful mostly women smallholder farmers, where they met Ms. Noeun Sret, Ms. Hoeum Loun and their families.

Once rice farmers, Noeun and Hoeum shared the great risks that come with producing rice. The majority of local farmers in Cambodia are dependent on growing rice, but with the dry climate they are only able to harvest one crop per year, providing families with little income.

Transitioning to poultry production, with the help of programs like Hatching Hope, has already changed the opportunities and outcomes for both farmers, by providing a more stable income for them and their families. Now, with the expansion of their chicken coops, their businesses will continue to flourish, their families will prosper, and the community will have better access to much-needed protein and improved nutrition.

“When we arrived on the farm it was clear these farmers were already raising poultry, but they were eager to expand and grow their operations even further,” said Mohit Purbey, CASC commercial director.

Cargill CASC employees moving dirt to level the ground in Cambodia The team spent the day carrying dirt to level the ground and nailing fencing to bamboo poles. This expansion of the existing chicken coops increased each farmer’s production size from 30 to 400 chickens.

“These two female farmers and their families radiated determination,” said Luan Nguyen, CASC Vietnam commercial manager. “They expect to triple their monthly income in the next three months.”

Isabel Deconinck, CASC strategy and marketing manager, agreed, sharing the farmers’ ambitions to grow into “professional farms.”

“The success Noeun and Hoeum experience will not stay only with them,” Isabel continued. “Through the Hatching Hope program, each farm will donate thirty chicks to another family looking to start a poultry production business. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and keeps fulfilling the aspirations of smallholder female farmers.”

Through the Hatching Hope program, Cargill and Heifer International will work with farmers initially in India, Mexico and Kenya, but this work between CASC and Heifer’s team in Cambodia shows that the reach and impact of Hatching Hope extends beyond the program’s “official” countries.

“This event made a lasting and positive impact on the farmers, the village and the CASC employees who participated,” shared Keang Keo, Cambodia country director, Heifer International. “You could see the deep gratitude in Noeun and Hoeum, and you could feel the humble inspiration from the Cargill team as they gave of themselves to lend a helping hand.”

Group photo of people with chicken coop in the background