A new initiative led by North American food company General Mills shows how private, public, non-profit and international organizations can work together to drive social change.
In an effort to expand its initiatives in the fight against hunger beyond the volunteering activities of its employees, General Mills founded the non-profit Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) to share its technical expertise with small food producers in Africa. PFS has since cooperated with companies such as Cargill and DSM, as well as NGOs such as Technosorve. It has also received support from agencies such as the World Food Program and USAID and social investors like Root Capital.
The organization fulfills its mission by relying on a mix of local partners and technology-based communication to transfer knowledge to food producers in Africa. Right now, PFS is working on more than 140 projects in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Ethiopia. The projects involve providing local food producers and processors with information regarding areas that General Mills has expertise in, such as food formulation, equipment design and packaging.
One such successful project is the company’s work with Nyirefami, a flour company in Tanzania. PFS worked with Nyirefami to install a quality control lab and improve its operations, helping the company to increase its milling capacity five times over. This will allow the company to expand its business and buy more grains from local farmers.
The example of how General Mills is making an impact in Africa shows that companies do not need to stray far from their ordinary business practices to make an impact. In fact, it is likely that an even greater impact can be made if companies begin contributing their expertise to small businesses in developing economies.
– Caroline Poterio Martinez
Source: Harvard Business Review