PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP), the PepsiCo Foundation, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recently announced a unique public-private partnership to dramatically increase chickpea production and promote long-term nutritional and economic security in Ethiopia. The initiative, called Enterprise EthioPEA, was unveiled by the partners at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City on 21 September.
Enterprise EthioPEA supports the Ethiopian government’s agriculture sector development plans, and aims to dramatically increase chickpea production to address three distinct needs. Specifically, the project intends to:
• Enable nearly 10,000 Ethiopian farmers to realise a twofold increase in chickpea yield by applying more modern agricultural practices and irrigation techniques. This initiative will leverage PepsiCo’s and USAID’s deep agricultural expertise to create new domestic and export markets for Ethiopian chickpeas, and improve the overall quality of the soil farmed.
• Develop a locally sourced, nutrient-rich, ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) to address malnutrition. With an initial target to reach nearly 40,000 Ethiopian children, ages six-23 months, WFP will leverage its mass distribution capabilities to assist those most in need of nutritional support through its existing operational network. Longer term, all partners aim to expand the program to prevent malnutrition across the Horn of Africa.
• Scale up and strengthen the Ethiopian chickpea supply chain, to harness the potential of a domestic and export market and increase the availability of locally produced nutritious products for consumers. For PepsiCo, chickpea-based products are an important part of the company’s strategy to build a $30bn (£19.3bn) global nutrition business by 2020.
With an average of 22% protein, chickpeas are a more sustainable alternative to meat and have the potential to reduce risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes. While Ethiopia is Africa’s largest producer of chickpeas, there remains high potential to increase yields and improve quality.
PepsiCo’s investment in Enterprise EthioPEA is part of a global strategy to make the company a leader in sustainable agriculture around the world. It is also the latest example of the company’s proven and transferable market-based model, which advances healthy nutrition and environmental sustainability while supporting local economic growth and PepsiCo’s short- and long-term financial performance. Additionally, the PepsiCo Foundation is supporting Enterprise EthioPEA by working with WFP and funding the initiative’s RUSF program.
“PepsiCo’s partnership with the World Food Programme and USAID is well designed to address the needs of many of our most important stakeholders, including customers and communities,” said Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
She added: “We are pleased to be combining powerful local networks, proven experience in development assistance and strong industry expertise to help create new domestic and export food markets. This initiative will positively impact the livelihood of local farmers, address the critical issue of famine in the Horn of Africa and create sustainable business opportunities for PepsiCo.”
Josette Sheeran, executive director of WFP, said: “With the ingenuity, power and reach of the private sector, we can make great strides in ending the malnutrition and hunger that is threatening the lives of millions.
“The world knows how to prevent malnutrition. The hunger we are witnessing today in the Horn of Africa is preventable with local solutions that support small farmers in being part of the solution. Enterprise EthioPEA will change the lives of tens of thousands of children and will chart the course for future partnerships to help stamp out hunger around the globe.”
Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, added: “This unique partnership illustrates how we can develop market-based solutions and leverage resources to make a sustainable impact in reducing hunger and poverty, which is particularly critical in light of the crisis in the Horn of Africa.
“In addressing both immediate hunger needs and supporting opportunities for smallholder farmers to boost their earning potential through increased productivity, it will advance the objectives of Feed the Future, the US global hunger and food security initiative.”
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