MOLINE, Ill., May 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- John Deere (NYSE: DE) believes farmers can make the world better. To recognize the company's recent work with smallholder farm families in northern Nigeria to unlock their potential to sustain themselves and those around them, Fast Company selected John Deere as the Winner in the Corporate Social Responsibility category of the 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards.

A farmer in Rayuwa, Africa, tends to his crops.

"Rayuwa," which means "life" and "livelihood" in Hausa, is the name of John Deere's project with PYXERA Global that combines two interventions essential to farm family success: agricultural training to increase food security and profitability; and youth education to inspire opportunity and equity. Through its World Changing Ideas Awards, Fast Company honors innovative approaches like Rayuwa that reveal a deep commitment to tackling the world's greatest challenges.

"There is no question our society and planet are facing deeply troubling times. So, it's important to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, impact, design, scalability and passion to solve these problems," said Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company.

A panel of eminent Fast Company editors and reporters selected winners from a pool of more than 4,000 entries.

"By combining agricultural training and youth education, Rayuwa does something unique—it invests simultaneously in the farmers of today and tomorrow," said Nate Clark, president of the John Deere Foundation. "When farm families have the opportunity for education, they become more productive, profitable and adaptable."

One such farmer is Rahila Sama'ila, who has been farming for 40 years. "I participated in Rayuwa's trainings in plant spacing, seed sowing, fertilizer application and how to protect ourselves when using agrochemicals on our farms," said Sama'ila. "My yields increased 20% this year."

Because Rayuwa recruited homegrown talent from regional universities to teach its agricultural and education programs, its work with Sama'ila and her neighbors could continue even in the face of COVID-19. "I feel safe with the Rayuwa team, even in these challenging times," said Sama'ila. "They are honest people and keep their promises."

Despite the enormous challenges posed by COVID-19 and its impact on many in Nigeria and throughout Africa, Rayuwa's 2,500 farmers and 4,000 youth prospered:

  • Rayuwa farmers reduced their rate of food insecurity during the "hunger season" from 63% to 53%, compared to the doubling of food insecurity in Africa.
  • Rayuwa farmers increased total earnings by USD $1.3 million due to improved yields, despite growing poverty in Nigeria.
  • Rayuwa youth earning top scores in letter and number recognition increased by 60% and 77% respectively, with a projected increase in lifetime earnings through better education topping USD $1.9 million.
  • Rayuwa's success in agriculture and education inspired 300 youth to return from the cities to farm and learn, breaking long-term trends in urban migration.

"In every measure, this award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity and resilience of Rayuwa's farm families and the exceptional Rayuwa staff," Clark said. "They have changed the world, and we at John Deere are privileged to serve them."

About John Deere
Deere & Company ( is a world leader in providing advanced products, technology, and services for customers whose work is revolutionizing agriculture and construction — those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich, and build upon the land to meet the world's increasing need for food, fuel, shelter, and infrastructure. 

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