Seeking solutions for world hunger

World Hunger

Seeking solutions for world hunger

Our goal: to help eliminate world hunger. That's why the John Deere Foundation supports agricultural development for sustainable food supplies and economic growth in the less developed countries. In 2005, the foundation added Solutions for World Hunger as an area of focus. And in 2008, we started working with Opportunity International, providing increased access to financial services for small-holder farmers and small business owners in Africa. Want to know more? Check out the tabs below.

Expand AllCollapse All


Many farmers in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali, and Burkina Faso live in poverty, struggling to cultivate tiny parcels of land. KickStart gives them hope.

The program develops and sells low-cost equipment, primarily irrigation pumps, to these subsistence farmers. This small investment often means the difference between barely growing enough to feed a family and growing enough to operate a profitable commercial farm. By 2010, KickStart had helped more than 100,000 families (about 500,000 people) start profitable commercial farm businesses. Today, these families enjoy economic stability. And, they can also provide sustainable, highly nutritious food supplies to those who live nearby.

In 2005 and again in 2008, the John Deere Foundation made three-year, $3 million grants to KickStart. With Deere's support, KickStart can get the pumps into farmers' hands at a price they can afford.

World Food Prize

The John Deere Foundation provides annual support to the World Food Prize. This international award is given to those whose work has significantly improved food quality, quantity or availability. The World Food Prize organization is a prominent international leader in promoting research and collaboration to eliminate hunger and advance human development.

To increase awareness of the award, the organization also has two key programs for students:

Global Youth Institute
The Global Youth Institute is a three-day conference intended to help high school students learn about and comprehend the problems of world hunger. Students selected for the institute must conduct research and write a paper.

Borlaug-Ruan Scholarships
The Borlaug-Ruan International Internship program sends talented students to agricultural research centers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America each summer to work with scientists on research projects related to hunger and agricultural and human development.


Supporting the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) allows us to make a big impact through one organization. Here's how FRB works:

In the U.S., community "growing projects" raise a crop or other marketable agricultural resources. The proceeds are given to 15 FRB member organizations worldwide. They, in turn, help support individuals or small groups wishing to establish small commercial farming operations or other ag-based businesses. Many of these farms or businesses work in some of the world's poorest areas. And their goals are simple: produce enough to support an entire community; produce extra food to share; barter or sell food to purchase basic medicines and staples; send all children to school.Through this work, individuals and their communities can ultimately become self-sufficient and food-secure.


The Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) program was founded at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) in 1976. The program helps students confront the challenges faced by people in developing regions of the world. These challenges include: poverty, hunger, exclusion, level of development, conflict, injustice, ecological disasters, and major health concerns.

HNGR combines classroom study with field-based internships. Students learn to help people live whole, secure, productive lives. Since the program began, more than 600 students have participated in HNGR internships in 63 countries worldwide.

Opportunity International

Opportunity International is dedicated to helping the working poor. The organization provides small loans to entrepreneurs so they can start or expand a business, develop a steady income, provide for their families and create jobs for others.

Opportunity International also offers savings, microinsurance, business training, and other services to 1.1 million people in 28 developing nations.

In 2008, the John Deere Foundation stepped in, providing a $1.26 million grant. These funds will help make microfinance services available to farmers and others engaged in food processing and distribution. The goal - create a sustainable framework in Malawi and Mozambique to increase food production, food availability at local markets, and family income for food. By 2011, the grant is expected to create $10.6 million of economic impact, helping thousands of farmers, food processors, and retailers. Its growing benefit is the result of Opportunity International's business model. Each time a client repays a loan, that money is re-loaned to others. Money in clients' savings accounts also adds to the funds available to borrow.