General Mills launching nonprofit effort in Africa
March 16, 2011
by Keith Nunes
MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. has launched Partners in Food Solutions, a non-profit organization with the goal of bringing food production and food processing expertise to small- and medium-size food processors in Africa. Cargill and Royal DSM have also joined the effort.
“The need for sustainable food production is central to combating hunger in Africa,” said Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of General Mills. “General Mills has deep food processing expertise and the technical leadership skills necessary to transfer critical knowledge to food processors in Africa, who can then produce more food and feed more African people. Local food processors can then source more ingredients from local small-holder farmers, many of them women, creating an important and stable outlet for their crops.
“General Mills has been piloting this effort for more than two years, and we know we can help. Through Partners in Food Solutions, General Mills will be able to reach out to additional partners from across the food industry. The need is critical, and we know our industry can make a transformative difference.”
A grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development has allowed the program to expand in scale. Partners in Food Solutions is currently working with 15 food processors on about 40 projects in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi, impacting 60,000 farmers. As a new non-profit, it aims to broaden the program over the next five years to include as many as 10 corporate partners working with 200 food processors and 1 million farmers in 14 African nations. Partners in Food Solutions has also hired and trained four African food scientists who are helping to find companies in need of expertise.
The work ranges from new product development to packaging, from plant design to fortification. The food products are sold to consumers, but they also include food aid, reaching millions of those in need.
“Cargill is pleased to join General Mills and Partners in Food Solutions to help alleviate hunger in Africa,” said Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer of Cargill. “For Cargill employees, this is a unique opportunity to put our knowledge to work to improve the food supply chain, increase food security and in the process, change lives. Partnerships to address food security can be a powerful force, and our participation in Partners in Food Solutions further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring all people have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food."