Supporting Growers and Producers

The long-term viability of the supply chains for the commodities we purchase doesn’t just support our business, it helps the farmers and providers who count on them for their livelihood and those of their families. Our commitment to supporting these supply chains requires clarity on the expectations we have for our suppliers, a dedication to collaborating with our partners to ensure they continue to comply with established standards and a passion for continuous improvement.

We have focused our efforts on making a positive impact against the unique challenges faced by the different supply chains of the commodities we purchase. Some notable examples are shared below.

Green Coffee

We have been passionate about supporting smallholder farmers since we entered the coffee category. With our partners, we are proud to have executed several signifciant programs to better the lives of these smallholders and their families. 

Better Coffee Harvest Project

The Better Coffee Harvest Project (BCHP) is a $3.9 million initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development, Smucker and the PIMCO Foundation.

Starting in 2014, the aim of the project has been to help 6,000 coffee farmers in El Salvador and Nicaragua overcome coffee leaf rust and increase their productivity and coffee sales. With the project now complete, we are proud to have trained 11,000 farmers in proper agricultural practices, supported a 50 percent yield increase for participating farmers and facilitated $2.4 million in loans to coffee farmers.

MAS PLUS

In 2017, we joined TechnoServe and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to launch the MAS PLUS Project in Honduras. MAS PLUS is committed to supported 31,465 farmers with a focus on enhancing their production and market access through training to improve product quality and linking farmers to formal markets.

MOCCA

Another joint initiative in partnership with TechnoServe and the USDA, along with principal partner Lutheran World Relief, is the Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cacao in the Americas (MOCCA) Project.

This five-year, $36.4 million effort is meant to improve the livelihoods of more than 120,000 farmers by building up the key agricultural sectors of coffee and cocoa in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Peru. MOCCA trains farmers on climate-resilient agronomic practices, opens new doors to financing, makes high-quality genetic material available for planting and supports research to develop more resilient varieties. The project also links farmers to higher-value markets where they can earn more money to reinvest into their farms.

Hanns R. Neumann Foundation

This Hamburg, Germany-based organization works in 18 countries to help smallholder farmers adopt best practices, gain entrepreneurial skills and move toward economic self-sufficiency. Since 2013, we have worked with the Neumann Foundation in Indonesia reaching more than 7,500 farmers and providing them with technical expertise and organizational support.

World Coffee Research

We are also proud to be a founding member and platinum partner of World Coffee Research (WCR), which aims to increase the availability of quality coffee in a sustainable manner through research and development. WCR does vital work to address the challenges facing coffee in the 21st century, including preparing for climate change, increasing yields, improving farmer profitability, protecting and increasing quality and controlling disease and pests.

One exciting recent initiative by WCR is the F1 coffee hybrid project. Read more about this effort here.

Peanuts

With peanut butter brands such as Jif®, Santa Cruz Organic®, Smucker’s®, Laura Scudder’s® and Adams®, we have a stake in the health of peanut-producing regions in the U.S. That’s why we help the USDA and the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District implement practical solutions through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that covers growers in the Flint River basin in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

These areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change events such as flooding, extreme heat events and disrupted water availability. Farmers and landowners who participate in the RCPP have access to resources and guidance to help strengthen land and farm resiliency to climate change impacts across a diverse spectrum of land uses and habitat types.

As part of this commitment, we are helping build a comprehensive data set to showcase the sustainable nature of peanut production throughout all peanut-producing regions. This project also aims to develop an educational program for growers to evaluate their farming practices in comparison with the overall data set to improve their environmental and economic sustainability.

Fruit

Though it represents only a small portion of our total ingredient purchases today, we have a rich fruit-based heritage. We buy thousands of tons each year, 80 percent of which is processed in our own facilities.

In partnership with industry-leading organizations and growers, we support research and best practices for the long-term viability of fruit supply chains across the U.S. We regularly sample and test our fruit for more than 400 pesticides before using it in our products, and prohibit all substances and residues banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

We are an active member of the California Strawberry Commission, a state government agency charged with conducting research on sustainable farming practices to support California’s strawberry industry. We also work with both the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission and the Washington Red Raspberry Commission to promote sustainable red raspberry, black raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry production.

Seafood

Our pet food brands use fishmeal in canned, wet pet food and snacks. We use our influence to help fight the illegal process of transshipping—moving fish from one ship to another at sea. The practice is strictly banned throughout our global supply chain, and suppliers need to provide us legal documentation of lawful practices. If we discover a supplier is not following these practices we work with local and industry partners to take the appropriate actions.

We also work to help eradicate forced labor practices in regional seafood supply chains. We are a member of the Seafood Task Force, which is focused on addressing fishing labor practices in the Gulf of Thailand in Southeast Asia. Member organizations include U.S. and European retailers, manufacturers, seafood companies, importers, governments and NGOs, all of which work together to drive measurable social and environmental change in the Thai seafood industry through greater supply chain accountability, verification and transparency.

Black Pepper

Cashews, cinnamon and black pepper from Vietnam help build the flavor of our Sahale Snacks®. Our partnership with PeaceTrees Vietnam is part of an ongoing effort to ensure a quality supply of black pepper while helping to build livelihoods for the people who help us make those snacks so delicious. PeaceTrees helps make the land safe for children, farmers and families clearing unexploded bombs and land mines.

PeaceTrees also funds the Black Pepper Farming Project, which provides poor, largely ethnic-minority farmers in the Cheng Village of Tan Lien Commune with trees and fertilizer, and trains them to grow their own black pepper plants for market. We donate a portion of proceeds from Sahale Snacks® Valdosta Pecans to support the Black Pepper Farming Project.

Quinoa

Our truRoots® brand features organic, gluten-free and non-GMO ancient grain products, including sprouted and non-sprouted grains, pastas, beans, legumes and seeds. The brand works with Fundación Valles (“FTDA Valles”), a foundation that offers innovative technology to support the development of rural economies and builds capacity for sustainable production of organic quinoa through the support of small-scale, indigenous farmers in the Altiplano, or “high plain,” regions of Bolivia. Through our partnership with FTDA Valles, we are helping local growers bring consumers a sustainable product from farm to fork.