Partners in Food Solutions Announces New Corporate Partner, Expanded Impact in Africa
Monday, October 5, 2015
An international public-private partnership is expanding its efforts to strengthen Africa’s food system. The Hershey Company is joining Partners in Food Solutions, a Minnesota nonprofit, as its newest corporate partner.
This move will expand Partners in Food Solutions’ work into two new African countries, and greatly expand the group’s footprint and efforts to improve food security and nutrition in Africa.
Partners in Food Solutions connects volunteer experts from the world’s leading food companies with their counterparts in Africa to help them improve and expand their businesses. These high-potential African companies can then feed more people better, safer, more nutritious and more affordable food, while at the same time providing more stable markets for the crops of smallholder farmers in their region. The volunteer experts connect through a new model of remote consulting pioneered by Partners in Food Solutions.
Volunteers from Hershey will join those from General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler.
“PFS has a great track record across the African continent, and we are most excited about expanding the model to entrepreneurial companies in West Africa,” said John P. Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer at The Hershey Company. “Our work with cocoa communities in the region spans decades. This partnership will allow us to link the technical and business expertise of Hershey employees with a broader range of food-based businesses, and provide nutrition to children in the region.”
Adding Hershey volunteer experts to its ranks is part of Partners in Food Solutions’ aggressive plan for growth over the next five years. The four-year-old nonprofit has already helped more than 600 food companies in five African countries through training or consulting projects. These efforts have helped bring more than 21 metric tons of food to market in areas in urgent need of safe, affordable, nutritious food. They have also helped secure and sustain markets for 829,000 small farmers who sell their crops to these companies to feed their families.
“We have seen real, tangible results from our efforts and are thrilled to have The Hershey Company join our work,” said Partners in Food Solutions CEO Jeff Dykstra. “We know that Africa can produce the food it needs to feed itself, and we know that our model of building the capacity of small businesses in the center of the food value chain can make that happen.”
In March of this year, Partners in Food Solutions helped Ethiopian companies begin producing the first fortified flour ever available to consumers in that country, creating the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of children’s diets. And in July, U.S. President Barack Obama visited with Partners in Food Solutions’ client, Faffa Foods, as he highlighted the successful efforts of a public-private partnership with USAID.
Partners in Food Solutions was founded by General Mills in 2008. Cargill soon joined the effort, along with the Dutch nutrition and pharmaceuticals company Royal DSM and Swiss technology company Bühler. Partners in Food Solutions volunteers currently work with food companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. The partnership with Hershey will expand their work into West Africa, in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.