MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill on Oct. 18 said it has partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and World Food Program USA on a new initiative to deliver locally-sourced school meals to more than 100,000 schoolchildren in Honduras, Indonesia and Kenya over the next two years. Cargill and the WFP plan to work with small-scale farmers in the countries to make the program a success.

“We know that education outcomes and nutrition are linked and that small-scale farmers can be an important part of the solution,” said Michelle Grogg, senior director of corporate responsibility for Cargill. “By working with local farmers to grow nutritious food, we can improve farmer incomes and get students what they need to learn.”

The partnership also will provide farmers in Honduras, Indonesia and Kenya access to stable local markets, strengthening the ties between school meals programs and local economies. Cargill said it is investing $1 million to help farmers build capacity and strengthen best practices for meals programs. The initiative also will help to strengthen the capacity of provincial and local governments to improve school meal programs, Cargill said.

“Relying on locally-sourced ingredients lifts up farmers and puts the purchasing power of school meal programs right back into the community,” said Rick Leach, president and chief executive officer of WFP USA. “It’s the next step in making school meals sustainable.”

In 2015, WFP provided school meals to more than 17 million children in 62 countries across the globe. Over the past 12 years, Cargill said it has contributed $12 million to WFP programs to advance food security, sustainability and nutrition.