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As part of the first visit by a sitting US president to Ethiopia, President Obama visited the Ethiopian food company, Fafa Food Share Company, highlighting the unique public-private partnership that promotes nutrition and food security in Africa.
The Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) and TechnoServe alliance have helped Faffa Foods and hundreds of other African food companies improve the nutrition, safety and affordability of their food by providing top industry expertise from global food companies General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM and Bühler.
Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition are serious concerns in Ethiopia, where two out of five children do not receive critical nutrients to support growth. While the country’s economy is based largely on agriculture, millions of people require humanitarian assistance to survive. Making food more nutritious, affordable and readily available helps improve the lives of children and families and supports economic development.
During the visit, the President said that Feed the Future initiative is really making changes. “Some of the big international food processors make commitments to partner with local food processing so that we can start building capacity. Historically, part of the problem is that even if you have food that’s grown here, the processing is then done someplace else, it’s higher up on the value chain and you don’t get the kind of integrated food industries locally that can be more affordable for people and can create jobs and industries here. And part of our goal is not to just provide food to countries that may have food scarcity, but to continually build up their capacity across the board. And so having strong corporate partners alongside local businesses can really make a big difference.”
Answering a question about whether or not there is enough funding to support such kinds of investments, President Obama said that his country works to uphold the targets of the initiative.
“What we’re able to do is to leverage the dollars that we’ve got alongside efforts from other countries and from the private sector. And so for every taxpayer dollar – every U.S. taxpayer that we’re putting in – we’re leveraging a bunch of other money. Of course, the needs still outstrip what we’re able to provide, and hopefully, by having built models that we know succeed, we can accelerate this even faster.”