Partners in Food Solutions, USAID and TechnoServe Expand Partnership to Improve Food Security in Africa

$15 million Public-Private Partnership Agreement will enable consortium of global food companies to help transform food processing through its 500+ corporate volunteer network

MINNEAPOLIS (October 18, 2012) – Today, the nonprofit Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), a consortium of General Mills, Cargill and DSM, announced a newly established agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The new agreement will enable PFS to expand the reach of the technical and business expertise it provides to small and growing food processors in sub-Saharan Africa. The agreement announced today builds on a public-private partnership between USAID, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and General Mills, formed in 2010.

Under this new agreement, Solutions to African Food Enterprises (SAFE), USAID and PFS will deepen their collaboration to improve African food security by bringing expertise, knowledge and resources to the continent’s food processing sector. PFS will provide over $8 million in resources to the endeavor, leveraging almost $7 million in funding from USAID. This public-private partnership – implemented by TechnoServe and part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future and Global Health initiatives – will continue to help improve African food security. 

The collective commitment will utilize more than 50,000 hours of expertise from employee volunteers from General Mills, Cargill and DSM – sharing their technical and business knowledge with 250 food processors and millers throughout Eastern and Southern Africa.

In addition, this partnership will work to expand capital and market access to the processors we engage.  To sustain and scale these results across the sector, PFS will develop and share best practices in food processing with African organizations who will support further sector development after PFS support ends. By the end of the five-year effort, the partnership will have strengthened an entire industry.

Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills, announced the agreement today at the annual World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa. “This new support from USAID will move us closer to our goal of helping more than 200 Africa-based food processors, while training hundreds more. Hundreds of thousands of farmers will benefit, and thousands of tons of healthier local foods will reach millions of African consumers.”

Greg Page, Cargill Chairman and CEO, stated: “For Cargill employees, this is a unique opportunity to put our knowledge to work to improve food production, increase food security and in the process, change lives. Partnerships to address food security can be a powerful force and this renewed agreement with USAID and our participation in Partners in Food Solutions further demonstrates Cargill’s commitment to ensuring all people have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food.”

CEO of Royal DSM, Feike Sijbesman, shared his enthusiasm about the renewed engagement with USAID by saying, “Royal DSM is proud to collaborate with General Mills, Cargill, USAID and others in Partners in Food Solutions. This is a powerful new initiative, launched by General Mills. DSM has been playing an active role in the fight against micronutrient deficiencies for many years, contributing scientific know-how, technical expertise, products, solutions and other means to help improve the nutritional status of people in need and combat 'hidden hunger'. Only by reaching out to all our stakeholders around the world will we be able to develop solutions for world's greatest challenges. Allowing our employees to volunteer their time and knowledge to solve global issues is not just an honor, it’s a responsibility.”

Bruce McNamer, President and CEO of TechnoServe, noted, “This expanded partnership has the potential to transform the food processing sector and improve local access to affordable, nutritious foods. Together with USAID and volunteers from Partners in Food Solutions, TechnoServe will work with local, enterprising people to strengthen their businesses and build a sustainable industry. This effort creates jobs with processors, establishes a regular market for smallholder farmers that pays them a good price for their crops and increases food security for people in poor communities.”

Jeff Dykstra, Founding Executive Director of PFS, said this of the new agreement, “This unique consortium of world class food companies connecting their employee experts directly with small and growing food companies has the power to improve the whole food sector throughout Africa.  This partnership with USAID is an excellent example of how public and private sectors can work together for greater good.”

To date, PFS has worked with 40 food processors in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi, on over 120 projects sourcing from more than 100,000 smallholder farmers who support an estimated 600,000 family members. Rather than sending a few technical staff to Africa to work on projects, PFS created a sustainable knowledge transfer system via its partner TechnoServe that enables volunteer employees from General Mills, Cargill and DSM to collaborate with African food processors right from their offices, thousands of miles away.

The PFS team helps the food processors on a range of projects including improving packaging, helping develop formulations for products so they retain flavor and optimize nutrients, teaching about food safety and quality control, meeting food standards and more. Since the African food processors PFS works with have committed to source predominantly from local smallholder farmers, the effort is also creating new income and jobs, thus improving hundreds of thousands of lives in the developing world.

PFS also draws on the expertise of TechnoServe to screen and identify high potential processors, provide the in-depth country knowledge and on-site processor support, and ensure successful on-the-ground program implementation.

Over the next five years, PFS plans to broaden this work to include as many as 10 corporate partners, working with 200 Africa-based food processors, who purchase from more than 500,000 smallholder farmers in as many as 12 African nations.

About Partners in Food Solutions
Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) is a nonprofit organization that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees from General Mills, Cargill and Royal DSM to small and medium-sized mills and food processors in the developing world. Its goals are to improve the ability of those companies to produce high-quality, nutritious and safe food at affordable prices, and to increase demand for the crops of smallholder farmers who supply those businesses. PFS draws upon the expertise of TechnoServe and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). TechnoServe offers in-depth country knowledge and on-site processor support that helps make for successful on-the-ground program implementation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shares knowledge and resources. Visit www.PartnersinFoodSolutions.com for more information about Partners in Food Solutions or watch this short video.

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, and Wanchai Ferry. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2012 worldwide sales of US $16.7 billion.

About Cargill
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 139,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit Cargill.com and its news center.

About DSM 
Royal DSM N.V. is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. By connecting its unique competences in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences DSM is driving economic prosperity, environmental progress and social advances to create sustainable value for all stakeholders. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, automotive, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials. DSM’s 22,000 employees deliver annual net sales of about € 9 billion. The company is listed on NYSE Euronext. More information can be found at www.dsm.com.

About USAID
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 non-profit organization that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees at General Mills, Cargill and DSM to small and medium-sized mills and food processors in the developing world. PFS volunteers offer technical support and training designed to improve the business performance of food processing firms, resulting in increased availability of high quality nutritious and safe foods.