Partners in Food Solutions-TechnoServe Alliance

The Partners in Food Solutions (PFS)-TechnoServe Alliance matches the expertise of leading global food companies with the needs of African-based food processing companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

Context

Nearly two-thirds of the workforce in sub-Saharan Africa is focused in agriculture. However, many of these workers are smallholder farmers who lack access to stable and profitable markets for their harvests, trapping them in a cycle of poverty. At the same time, as a result of poverty and the lack of access to varied, nutritious food, a quarter of the region’s population is undernourished.

Opportunity

Food processing is a significant driver of local economies, creating supplier linkages for millions of small-scale farmers and helping elevate rural incomes across much of the African continent. However, small and growing local processors often have difficulties producing high-quality affordable and nutritious products that meet food safety standards and regulatory requirements, due in part to a lack of technical and business knowledge.

Strategy

The Partners in Food Solutions (PFS)-TechnoServe Alliance, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), matches the expertise of leading global food companies with the needs of African-based food processing companies in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. These consultations help local processors to produce and market high-quality, safe and nutritious foods, creating sustainable value chain linkages that support local farmers as well as the nutrition needs of the wider community.

The partnership has designed and refined an efficient model that remotely delivers corporate expertise to the field:

  • TechnoServe food technologists and business advisors are located in Africa to provide on-site support to processors.
  • Partners in Food Solutions aggregates and mobilizes teams of volunteers from its member companies – General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler – to transfer knowledge and technical assistance to processors in areas such as product formulation, fortification and packaging, and business operations. The companies also provide access to facilities and state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure.

Recognizing that enterprises in different countries face different challenges, the partnership develops solutions tailored to a processor’s particular situation as well as country-specific strategies that will generate the highest return on investment. The program does this in a number of ways:

  • By supporting emerging processors through sector-wide training in food quality, safety and fortification in addition to other challenges facing local processors.
  • By facilitating linkages between processors and potential markets and sources of finance.
  • By equipping local institutions to support processors by developing and sharing training materials.
  • By training universities, local business consulting firms, local universities and other entities on best practices so they in turn can train local processors and lay the foundation for enduring impact.

Results

The partnership has provided training and consultations to 600 food processors and more than 65 food-sector institutions. It has provided customized consultancies to 100 of these processors, with the following results:

  • Market opportunities for approximately 829,000 smallholder farmers, who in turn support an estimated 5 million family members
  • 333 new jobs
  • More than 15,000 MT in sales of therapeutic food
  • 14 new or improved nutritional product lines
  • $2.6 million in financing

In turn, these food processors have made safe, nutritious food available to millions of Africans via food aid and local retail markets.

Partners

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.

Partners in Food Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees from General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, and Bühler to small and growing food processors and millers in the developing world.

TechnoServe is an international nonprofit that works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. TechnoServe directs all on-the-ground implementation for the Alliance, identifying and partnering with food processors, government and private sector bodies, linking their challenges to technical experts within PFS and supporting their business, technical and training needs.