USAID, Technoserve and Partners in Food Solutions in new alliance to point African farmers to profitable markets
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the nonprofit organizations Partners in Food Solutions and TechnoServe have announced the launch of the Alliance for Inclusive and Nutritious Food Processing (AINFP).
The five-year, $20 million public-private partnership will work with the food processing sector in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia, tapping the power of the private sector to create better nutritional outcomes for base-of-the-pyramid consumers and more profitable market opportunities for local farmers.
The inability to access safe, nutritious, and affordable food is a problem for many people across East and Southern Africa. In Kenya and Tanzania, more than a quarter of children under the age of five exhibit stunting—evidence of undernutrition—while that figure rises to 40 percent in Ethiopia and Zambia.
At the same time, millions of smallholder farmers struggle to find profitable markets for their food crops, and sub-Saharan Africa imports $50 billion of food every year. A more effective local food processing sector would help to address both challenges, increasing the supply of nutritious food available for consumers and providing a profitable and stable market for the region’s farmers.
AINFP will help to unlock that potential by providing personalized assistance and sector-wide training to food processors in the four countries. Employee volunteers from Partners in Food Solutions’ member companies— General Mills, Cargill, DSM, Bühler, The Hershey Company, and Ardent Mills— and TechnoServe staff will apply their expertise to help 159 processors of nutritious foods, including supplementary and therapeutic foods, address the manufacturing and business challenges that limit their growth.
The program will provide training on best practices to an additional 500 food processors. Additionally, the Initiative for Smallholder Finance, a project partner, will work with financial institutions and other actors to help food processors access the financing they need in order to grow.
AINFP will also help to strengthen food processors’ linkages up and down the value chain. The project will work with food processors to develop strategies to profitably source more crops from local farmers, opening up a more stable market for those growers.
The initiative will additionally work with the food processors to help ensure that their nutritious products get into the hands of base-of-the-pyramid consumers by developing new marketing strategies and sales channels.
TechnoServe’s work on this partnership is funded by a $10 million grant from USAID as part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative to combat global hunger and poverty.
Partners in Food Solutions will leverage an additional $10 million of in-kind contributions of employee time from its corporate partners, as well as private funding. AINFP builds upon the work that USAID, Partners in Food Solutions, and TechnoServe have carried out together since 2010 in East and Southern Africa, which has supported 1,000 food processors who source crops from some 800,000 smallholders.
“We are excited to build on our longstanding and effective partnership with USAID and TechnoServe,” said Jeff Dykstra, co-founder and CEO of Partners in Food Solutions. “By improving the middle of the value chain - food processors and mills - we can help improve lives up and down the chain -- from small-holder farmers who have more reliable and robust markets to local consumers who can access more safe, affordable and nutritious foods.”
“Food processing is often the ‘the missing link’ in value chains, which is why we are so excited to expand our successful partnership with USAID and Partners in Food Solutions,” said William Warshauer, president and CEO of TechnoServe.
“Growing food-processing businesses create jobs, increase the availability of nutritious food, expand markets for local farmers, reduce post-harvest losses, and support a range of economic activities—everything from packaging to transport.”