MINNEAPOLIS (BUSINESS WIRE) — At the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, today, General Mills CEO Ken Powell addressed attendees on the company’s efforts to fight hunger in Africa through collaboration and employee volunteerism. He shared the company’s experience launching the nonprofit Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), and discussed General Mills’ distinct ability as a food company to help alleviate hunger by leveraging the skills of the many General Mills employee volunteers who are eager to give back. He characterized the company and its employees as “hungry to help.”
“We are hungry to help the entrepreneur in Tanzania who is trying to package her products and access new markets,” Powell said. “We are hungry to help the food scientist in Zambia searching for solutions to retain food flavor and optimize nutrients. And we are hungry to help the farmer in Malawi who, by selling her crop, will generate the money needed to support her family and pay for her children to go to school.”
Powell also announced that Partners in Food Solutions will be expanding through a renewed public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The newly established agreement with USAID will enable PFS to expand the reach of the technical and business expertise it provides to small- and medium-sized food processors in sub-Saharan Africa. The agreement announced today builds on a public-private partnership formed in 2010 between USAID, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and General Mills.
Under the new agreement, USAID and Partners in Food Solutions will deepen their collaboration to improve African food security by bringing expertise, knowledge and resources to the continent’s food-processing sector. Partners in Food Solutions will provide more than $8 million in resources to the endeavor, leveraging nearly $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 engaged in the program.
During his remarks, Powell called upon the wisdom of World Food Prize founder Norman Borlaug and quoted the man who spent a lifetime working to feed a hungry world: “You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs.”
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.
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.