The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), which draws together corporate executives to address worldwide societal challenges, presented its 2013 Excellence Award in Corporate Philanthropy to Mosiac for providing sustainable farming education and assistance to developing countries.
The Mosaic Villages Project
began in 2008 when concerned employees noticed how the global rise in food prices was affecting small-holder farmers.
"We felt that with our expertise and market presence, we could do something to help them," says Chris Lambe, director of social responsibility for Mosaic, a Minneapolis-based corporation that produces fertilizer from phosphate mined east and south of Tampa.
The project assists farmers in Guatemala, India and eight African countries break the cycle of poverty through skill development and sustainable farming practices. Mosaic’s agronomists and soil scientists visit villages to analyze the soil, build the nutrient base and teach simple modern farming techniques.
The result is improved livelihood. Because the efforts are so concentrated, results literally occur within one planning season -- five to six months after the program begins.
"It's a difference between them not having enough food to eat, to actually having a food surplus," says Lambe. "They can not only feed their families, but also sell the food and have some income."
The program has had a tremendous success rate, with 90 percent of the farmers graduating from the 3-year program. Perhaps the most notable success is long-term societal change. The African villages have seen a 40 percent reduction in stunting (young kids not growing the correct height and weight because of malnutrition).
The program has also become self-replicable, with farmers in surrounding villages experiencing similar successes by observing.
"Social change is occurring,'' says Lambe. "It's not just about the program anymore.''
's employees in the Tampa Bay region are involved in the program in areas such as product production and quality, inventory management, shipping, logistics and the transportation of fertilizer from Florida to the African villages.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Chris Lambe, Mosaic