In the Sukabumi region, Cargill discovers a new way to strengthen agricultural communities across the globe: by building schools.
For a century and a half, a major part of Cargill’s global impact has been empowering individuals and helping them to achieve their goals. This requires a close understanding of how local communities define success, then aligning Cargill’s capabilities with those values.
In 1976, Cargill came to know the priorities of a remote region of West Java: Sukabumi. The company had recently started operations in Bogor, Indonesia, and planned to begin poultry operations in the Sukabumi area.
Specifically, Cargill envisioned a poultry farm in Sukabumi, complete with a breeding area, hatchery and feed mill, and hoped to lease 62 acres of land from the government. The company discovered that the acreage had been previously subdivided into 149 individual farming plots and that landholders’ rights were held by 110 farmers and community members. To move forward with its plans, Cargill needed the approval of each and every landholder.
Cargill representatives worked to build and foster relationships to reassure residents that the company was committed to bringing a strong, positive impact to the region. They came to realize that a new school would help the community prosper. By day, the school would educate children. In the evening, poultry farmers could learn the latest best practices for raising, handling and marketing their livestock.
“…the governor’s representative for education recalled: ‘Cargill will be used as an example of a company with US investment willing to help work toward the improvement of Indonesia through education.’”— F.M. “Parky” Parkinson, Manager, Cargill Indonesia
People of the community were immediately taken with the idea of Cargill building a school. In fact, residents were so enthusiastic that they contacted all 110 of their landholding neighbors, convincing each to agree to lease Cargill the 62 acres it sought. The deal was approved and signed by Cargill Indonesia manager F.M. “Parky” Parkinson, kicking off the quick construction of both the school building and breeder farm. Today, both facilities still stand. To continue strengthening local communities, Cargill also provides support to over 85 schools in 16 locations throughout Indonesia.
But the story does not end there. Building new schools has become a vital part of Cargill’s support of agricultural communities around the world. More than 100 Cargill-funded schools in countries such as China, Turkey Vietnam and parts of Africa are encouraging a system without the use of child labor, while providing remote rural communities with stability, education and the promise of future success.