Technoserve and Partners in Food Solutions to Combat “Hidden Hunger” in Africa
Washington, D.C. — TechnoServe and Partners in Food Solutions have announced the launch of a four-year, $10 million initiative funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase the availability of nutritious foods in Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania. The Strengthening African Processors for Food Fortification (SAPFF) Project will help food companies in the three countries improve their capacity to produce and sell fortified foods for local markets.
The “hidden hunger” caused by micronutrient deficiency affects millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa and has been linked to numerous health and development issues. Food fortification, in which essential micronutrients are added during food processing, has been widely identified as a cost-effective strategy for addressing this problem, and for that reason, many governments across the region mandate it. However, the effectiveness of these mandates is frequently undermined by inadequate compliance by millers and other food processors, often because the local companies lack the necessary technical knowledge and equipment, or believe that food fortification would be too costly.
The SAPFF Project will take a holistic approach to addressing those challenges. It will work to strengthen the enabling environment that promotes the competitive, healthy and effective production of fortified foods, and it will engage with government ministries, industry associations and nonprofit organizations to deepen cooperation and forge new partnerships between stakeholders. To help local food companies comply with fortification mandates, the SAPFF Project will work hand-in-hand with them to build their capacity to fortify foods.
The project will provide customized technical assistance to at least 94 processors in Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya that produce wheat and maize flour, edible oils, sugar, salt and other products for local consumers, and it will also deliver shorter training to 200 additional companies. The technical assistance will not only cover topics directly related to food fortification, but will also help companies adopt good business and manufacturing practices that enable them to fortify their products in the most cost-effective manner and improve their profitability.
To provide assistance to the food processors, the project will harness more than 16,000 hours of expert advice from employee volunteers at Partners in Food Solutions’ member companies: General Mills, Cargill, DSM, Bühler and The Hershey Company. The initiative leverages the financial investment and unique industry expertise that the Partners in Food Solutions’ consortium of world-class corporate partners provide, alongside the thought leadership and financial support for TechnoServe provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
TechnoServe and Partners in Food Solutions have already worked together to implement this business-to-business model of capacity-building to improve operations at more than 700 food companies in Africa. Since 2009, this partnership has helped mills and processors to provide 22,000 metric tons of improved nutritious food to consumers and launch or develop 38 nutritious product lines.
“Making food fortification an attractive business proposition for more African companies is vitally important for improving nutrition,” said TechnoServe CEO and President William Warshauer. “For that reason, TechnoServe is excited to work with our long-time partners at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Partners in Food Solutions to promote a model for food fortification that is scaleable, sustainable and driven by the private sector.”
“Food fortification is a proven way to help people get the nutrition they need to thrive and reach their full potential,” said Jeff Dykstra, Co-Founder & CEO of Partners in Food Solutions. “Local food processors across Africa are key to making this happen and we look forward to sharing the wisdom and expertise of the employee volunteers of our partner companies and their decades of fortification experience.”
TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A nonprofit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with enterprising men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. By linking people to information, capital and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities. TechnoServe has earned a 4-star rating from independent evaluator Charity Navigator for the last 10 years, placing us in the top 1 percent of all its rated nonprofits.
With nearly 50 years of proven results, TechnoServe believes in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.
ABOUT PARTNERS IN FOOD SOLUTIONS
Partners in Food Solutions is a partnership that channels the expertise of corporate volunteers from world-class companies – General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, Bühler and Hershey– to small and growing food companies in Africa. Its goals are to improve the ability of these African food companies to produce more high-quality, nutritious and safe food at affordable prices, to increase market demand for crops from smallholder farmers, and to create a positive ripple effect throughout local economies.