Overview

Food Security

Food security – having access to enough nutritious food – is critical for leading a healthy, productive life. For millions of people living in poverty worldwide, hunger and malnutrition pose serious threats to their health, wellbeing, and livelihoods every day.

TechnoServe works with smallholder farmers, food processors, and small businesses that supply food to underserved communities. Our programs support every dimension of the supply chain that keeps the world fed.

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food security

How TechnoServe Promotes Food Security

 

Food Security Reduces Global Hunger & Its Related Health Risks

Many people in poverty suffer from malnutrition, with serious health and economic consequences. Chronic malnutrition can cause anemia, blindness, and even brain damage, while making the body more susceptible to other illnesses. 


The problem is especially acute for children. For nearly half of all deaths in children under five years old worldwide. Beyond its devastating impact on families, malnutrition limits a country’s economic potential, decreasing the productivity of its people and increasing healthcare costs.

By helping smallholder farmers produce more food and working with food processors to increase its nutritional value, TechnoServe’s programs offer a powerful solution to improving food security in developing countries.

TechnoServe’s work supports every party in the supply chain that brings food from farm to table, keeping people of all ages around the world nourished, healthy, and able to thrive.

Food Processing & Fortification Keeps Malnutrition at Bay 

When food is scarce, increasing the nutritive value it provides is essential to keep people healthy and nourished.  Food fortification, the process of adding micronutrients to food, can improve health, wellbeing, and quality of life for every member of the vulnerable communities grappling with widespread malnutrition around the globe.

Food fortification is one of the many critical roles food processors play in the food supply chain, namely the small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that turn wheat and maize into fortified flour, bake bread,  press soybeans and sunflower seeds into vegetable oil; and turn unpasteurized milk into safe yogurt cheese.  play in the food supply chain or food system.

TechnoServe programs like Strengthening African Processors for Food Fortification (SAPFF) are addressing chronic malnutrition through food fortification. At an average cost of just $0.15 per person annually in developing countries, you can make a huge difference in the fight to reduce hunger and increase food security worldwide.

Our Market Solutions Improve the Food Systems That Increase Food Security Worldwide

TechnoServe improves resilience at key levels of the food chain and provides a holistic solution to the ever-greater impact of food insecurity worldwide. In the high-value agriculture sector, our programs provide best-in-class training to help smallholder farmers increase crop yields and reduce food waste. 

TechnoServe’s business training programs teach food processors and small business owners who run micro-retail shops how to produce, access, and sell more and healthier food products to the customers who need them. 

TechnoServe’s Solution to Global Hunger: Supporting Each Link in Food Systems That Feed the World

The COVID-19 pandemic’s threats to food systems worldwide have accelerated the urgent threat of food insecurity for our clients in developing countries. Shutdowns, travel restrictions, and economic downturns have challenged food supply chains in developing countries at every level.

This year, 130 million more people worldwide could suffer from chronic hunger as a result of the pandemic’s threats to livelihoods and food supply chains. Drawing from decades of experience in strengthening food systems, TechnoServe is working harder than ever during COVID-19 to improve the resilience of small-scale farmers and businesses at a time when they need it most.

TechnoServe is a leader in strengthening each key link in the food system, from smallholder farmers and food processors to the small shops that sell the food. Equipped with in-depth knowledge of the current problems affecting the entire food system, TechnoServe is uniquely well-positioned to hit the ground running and help solve them. 

In particular, TechnoServe is focusing on “intermediaries” in the food supply chain, including the following:

  • Food processors
  • Aggregators
  • Other actors who connect farmers to consumers

A collapse of the supply chain, powered by these intermediaries, is the most serious threat to food security in most of the places we work in developing countries. Food processors, in particular, help combat malnutrition problems associated with food insecurity by fortifying many staple foods.

As the urgent global threat of hunger increases during the global pandemic, food security is an essential goal that extends throughout TechnoServe’s work across every dimension of food systems around the world.

Who Benefits From Food Security?

 

Smallholder Farmers 

Smallholder farmers are facing enormous challenges from the threats COVID-19 poses to their livelihoods and hampers their ability to continue feeding the world. Our programs empower smallholder farmers to improve crop yields and earned income, reduce food loss, and meet a constantly fluctuating demand to keep hunger at bay.

The 500 million small, family-owned farms worldwide play a vital role in feeding the world. In many communities, as much as 80% of food comes from these small farms. TechnoServe helps smallholder farmers adopt new agricultural skills, learn best practices, and access valuable market connections.

Our programs help increase smallholder farmers’ access to competitive markets where they can sell their crops. TechnoServe also works with governments and other key stakeholders to ensure that access to vital markets, transportation services, and tools is kept open so that farmers can safely access them during the crisis.

In a survey of nearly 800 cash-crop farmers in 11 countries, carried out by TechnoServe in July, 54% of respondents stated that they had lost income over the past month due to COVID-19. There are a number of reasons:

TechnoServe is working with smallholder farmers across the globe to overcome the unique challenges of COVID-19, such as the following:

  • Difficulty accessing tools and labor needed
  • Lack of access to training
  • Obstacles to reaching markets  

In response to COVID-19, TechnoServe has adapted our programs to continue providing participants with the information they need, even when traditional group training is impossible.

Our teams in the field have also been teaching farmers how to navigate the rising costs of agriculture inputs, household goods, and even food. Many of our programs have adopted a multi-channel approach that incorporates SMS, WhatsApp videos and audio messages, phone calls, radio, and printed materials.

Food Processors

Food processors play a critical role in the food supply chain by making food more nutritious through food fortification, an aspect of food processing that involves  adding micronutrients to food. This process extends shelf life and freshness on the journey from farm to table. 

TechnoServe supports food processors by providing training and support programs to help them navigate the business and technical challenges that hamper growth and sustained profitability.

Program participants leave TechnoServe trainings newly equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to improve their business operations. In addition, our programs provide insights on food security that enable participants to empower other entities in the sector to promote the importance of fortified foods for nutrition.

 In light of the challenges of COVID-19, TechnoServe is helping food processors access an adequate supply of the materials, equipment, and crops they need to keep production lines running, identify new markets, and facilitate new ways to enter them amid rapidly changing conditions, and access the financing they need to continue operating.   

Micro-Retailers

Micro-retailers play an important role in food systems everywhere. Small mom-and-pop shops like bodegas, dukas, and corner stores are often the only source for food and basic goods in vulnerable communities. In Nairobi, Kenya, for example, 80% of all basic goods are sold in dukas.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made people reluctant to go to markets and supermarkets, micro-retailers are more important than ever. Small business owners have had to adapt their operations to overcome disruptions to their supply chains, declining foot traffic in stores, and the pandemic’s impact on purchasing power in the marginalized community they serve.

TechnoServe is helping small-scale entrepreneurs like micro-retailers adapt their businesses to increasingly difficult circumstances.

TechnoServe programs teach small business owners how to sell products online through e-commerce and social media. Using WhatsApp groups and other digital platforms helps micro-retailers identify dependable suppliers and find goods at the best prices.

Working with TechnoServe business advisors, micro-retailers are fighting hard to stay in business and serve their communities. As a result, many have expanded their offerings to include products that consumers need in a crisis, found remote ways of reaching their customers, and acquired the financial education they need to balance their earnings and expenses. 

A World Bank study carried out in May 2020 found that while 40% of Kenyan small businesses were closed, just 9% of Kenyan entrepreneurs in TechnoServe’s PAYED program had shut their doors. 

Communities

Every day, the health and wellbeing of countless people worldwide hinges on their ability to purchase essential food products close to home.

Keeping the specter of hunger at bay is a universal public health concern, one that’s becoming increasingly acute during the global pandemic. Helping vulnerable communities around the world achieve food security to keep everyone who lives there nourished and healtyhy is a crucial public health outcome that TechnoServe’s programs help achieve.