How Companies and NGOs Can Work Together to Tackle Food Security
Monday, January 5, 2015
While the year of agriculture and nutrition, as declared by the African Union, may be over, those issues will undoubtedly remain top development priorities and can present unique opportunities for collaboration with business.
Toward the end of last year, Devex Impact caught up separately with John Mendesh,General Mills’ vice president of research and development, and Brent Wibberley, director of PFS programs at TechnoServe, to talk to them about the private sector’s role in furthering agricultural productivity and nutritious foods. The two organizations partner closely onPartners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit organization which taps the business expertise of companies like General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler to help improve the capacity of small food processors in the developing world.
Through a virtual model that connects the expertise in multinational food companies with small business owners, the organization has reached more than 600 small businesses and believes they can scale rapidly to reach more.
By tackling food processing, the companies and partners can have a larger multiplier effect with less cost and effort, they said. By driving up the amount of grain a company is milling, for example, it could either increase prices or demand from smallholder farmers who supply the small business — thus improving not only their livelihoods but also eventually nutrition through the improved processing.
To learn more about how the private sector can tackle nutrition and help local agricultural processors, and the role nongovernmental organizations play in making the partnerships successful, here is an excerpt from the interviews.