COVID-19: Agricultural Industry
Cargill and Syngenta are some of the top agricultural companies in the world, with headquarters in the US and Europe respectively. Both companies have employed measures to ensure the safety of their employees. The companies are offering support in donations to communities in the fight against the new Coronavirus. Cargill and Syngenta are also making additional efforts to ensure the constant supply of food products during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Cargill is one of the top food production and agricultural companies in the world. The US company specializes in grain and meat exports. It has a presence in over 40 countries.
- Cargill asserts that it is "working around the clock with food retailers and foodservice providers" to ensure that the population is fed safely in these unprecedented times.
- According to the information provided on its website, Cargill is also working with NGO partners in addressing health, food security, and safety needs that have emanated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Cargill has committed $35 million in product donations from employee givings and global/regional partnerships to relief and recovery efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In the US, the Cargill foundation has donated $1 million to "Minnesota Central Kitchen" in support of its emergency food relief initiative. The company has also turned its corporate cafeteria into a community kitchen and is preparing 15,000 meals every week.
- In addition, Cargill has mobilized support from its partners to ensure that food is supplemented to vulnerable populations including food-insecure children in different parts of the world where they operate.
- Cargill has reportedly donated about a million pounds of food including "232 tons of sausage and chicken," "300,000 packages of donated eggs, and 12,000 gallons of milk" to local food banks in parts of Central America and the Philippines.
- Cargill is also providing protective equipment and supplies to medical workers who are at the forefront of the pandemic.
- In support of China in its efforts to contain the virus, Cargill partnered with local community organizations in February to "source and distribute medical supplies" for several hospitals in Hubei province.
- In Europe, Cargill has provided 1,000 meals for night shift hospital workers in Wroclaw, Poland.
- The company has also made donations of disinfecting alcohol (160,000 liters) to the Belgian and Dutch governments on March 31st and 24th respectively.
Support for farmers and the food industry
- In addition to providing meals to over 100,000 agricultural households in Maharashtra, India, Cargill is also supporting the "American Farmland Trust Farmer Relief Fund" that will provide $1,000 in grants to food producers in the US as they navigate through the current crisis.
- Cargill is supporting the US food industry by partnering with "the National Restaurant Association Foundation Employee Relief Fund" in giving $500 in grants to US restaurant workers to assist with their medical, food and transport bills.
- Facebook posts on Cargill's response to the pandemic have been received with mixed reactions.
- The response to an April 6th Facebook post asserts Cargill's effort in ensuring food availability during the pandemic has been positive. Victoria Smith Bagley, commented by saying, "A huge thank you to all Cargill production employees." Mallory Stocker responded, "Thank you Cargill and all the workers." Jason Weidman, Josh Delos Reyes, Susan Rak, and Sandi Frisby said, "thank you."
- On the other hand, other posts have received criticism. A Facebook user going by Autumn Morehouse responded to an April 3rd post that recognized the extraordinary efforts by farmers, manufacturers, retail and food services by saying, "Thanks for buying our beef for $1/lb and selling it for $9/lb to the consumer during this epidemic. Breaking it off in the ranchers that do all the work..."
- Cargill also received heavy criticism on another post published on March 31st that asserts togetherness in the COVID-19 pandemic. Mitch Larsen comments, "What about the cattle market? You’re making $500+ per head on cattle while bleeding out all the ranchers and farmers! Yes, we are all indeed in this together...." Another user, Greg Sun, accused the company of child labor in the Ivory Coast. In another comment, ScottGail Fairman says, "Awful what this company has done to American agriculture."
- In the comment section of one of Cargill's videos that commends those giving help to the medical industry, Cargill has been accused of animal cruelty and exploiting the Amazon Rainforest, among other issues. Ellen Andrea Dent says, "Please stop exploiting animals for profit...." Elisa Di Eusanio says, "The Climate Save Movement demands you stop exploiting Amazon Rainforest, needlessly killing animals, and mistreating workers!" Other users are urging Cargill to transition to a plant-based enterprise.
- Syngenta is another giant in the agricultural industry. The Swiss company specializes in "herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and seed care."
- Syngenta has stated that it is committed to keeping its employees safe and providing support to farmers as they produce enough and affordable food during the COVID-19 crisis.
- On March 19th, the company reported that it had joined "Uniti per la provincia di Cremona," a fund for hospitals in Crema, Cremona, and Casalmaggiore in Italy. Funds donated would support hospital workers, (volunteers, paramedics, and doctors) and facilitate the purchase of needed medical equipment. More than a million Euros had been raised at the time.
- On March 24th, Syngenta joined forces with Huntsman in producing and donating 50 tons of hand sanitizers to pharmacies and local hospitals in Switzerland.
- Syngenta is among the farm suppliers that are accelerating the shipment of seeds, fertilizer, and crops to various farming regions during the COVID-19 crisis. According to a Reuters article dated March 26th, the company is "increasing its production capacity and positioning inventory to supply to US farmers from alternative locations."
- On March 30th, Syngenta launched a series of "Live Technology Lectures." The platform facilitates the sharing of agricultural knowledge and technical services by experts in the industry. The expertise provided will be helpful to Chinese farmers in the spring plowing season.
- Different initiatives were reported by the company on April 8th. Syngenta employees in different parts of the world have been taking different responses in the fight against the pandemic. Syngenta reported that its team at the Kaha Research Station in Egypt was sanitizing nearby sites in the community. Syngenta employees in Huddersfield donated 500 hand-bottle sanitizers for volunteers in the local community. 5 ventilators were also donated by Syngenta to the Health Ministry in Argentina for distribution to local hospitals. Syngenta also provided the much-needed protective care equipment to healthcare workers in Spain and Romania on the same day.
- Syngenta employees are also providing food parcels to low-income neighborhoods during the lockdown in Pakistan.
- On April 9th, in collaboration with Dutch rapper Ali B and the floriculture sector, Syngenta provided flowers to about 150,000 elderly people in Dutch nursing homes as they combat loneliness in this season of isolation.
- In February, Syngenta teams outside China procured about 450,000 masks and other vital protective supplies for distribution to the company's employees in China. On April 1st, the company reported that the Chinese Syngenta teams are now giving back as the epidemic slows in China. 430,000 face masks have been sent, another 400,000 has been pledged.
- Syngenta's response to the pandemic has been positively received by consumers. The "Heroes among us" video (1 week old) that commends doctors, food producers, and distributors, is one of the most-watched video (1.3k views, 25 likes, and 0 dislikes so far) compared to other Syngenta videos on the company's YouTube page.
- On April 8th, Carl Sykes, the Community and Business Relations Manager, Syngenta Huddersfield tweeted that the company had donated 500 hand bottle sanitizers. The majority of users responding to the post thanked the company for the donation. Twitter user, Mandy Taylor responded by saying, "Incredible work." A user going by @Musarrat wrote, "Thank you Syngenta. Much appreciated by volunteers." Huddersfield Live tweeted, "Amazing, thank you, as always you guys are there to help #staysafe."