MINNEAPOLIS – General Mills, Inc., its foundation and supplier partner AgroMantaro have made a four-year joint commitment to provide $1.1 million to help smallholder artichoke farmers in Peru.

The program, which will reach nearly 100 farmers, is designed to provide training on crop management and post-harvest practices, to provide microloans to purchase artichoke shoots and seeds, to offer training on how to form farmer cooperatives, and to provide financial planning education and information on how to formulate business plans.

Depending on how much land they devote to artichokes, families may increase their income by an average of 36% annually, according to General Mills. Peru’s central region previously was known for potato and grain crops, which have lower income potential than artichokes, according to General Mills.

General Mills sources artichokes for its Green Giant (Le Geant Vert) brand in France from farmers in Peru’s Sierra region.

In addition to providing financial assistance for the Peruvian program, General Mills will share supply chain and agronomic knowledge. AgroMantaro, a Peruvian agro-processor of artichokes and jalapeños, will provide technical and agronomy engineering support as well as financial assistance for seeds and plant shoots. CARE, a humanitarian organization that fights global poverty, will leverage its knowledge in facilitating community governance and local connections, provide training elements, and work with farmers and AgroMantaro.

“General Mills celebrates a century-long history of working closely with farmers around the world to promote sustainable agriculture,” said Jerry Lynch, vice-president and chief sustainability officer at Minneapolis-based General Mills. “Today, we continue that tradition with an increased focus on improving the environmental, economic and social impacts of sustainable farming. We’re not going to see dramatic change unless we make investments to help farmers grow more and improve their livelihoods. Working closely with great organizations like CARE and AgroMantaro, we can create positive, long-term changes.”