How Investing in Entrepreneurs Can Reduce Food Insecurity

Successive natural disasters and epidemics have disrupted the ability of many Africans to access sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs. With most of Africa’s population relying on agriculture for its livelihood, extreme weather conditions characterized by an increase in droughts, floods, and high temperatures have exacerbated the ailments of malnourishment and starvation.

Additionally, the spread of the pandemic across the African continent has posed health, political, and socio-economic challenges. It has reduced household incomes, halted the planting and harvesting seasons, and worsened poverty, leading to food insecurity for millions of people.

According to a study by the International Monetary Fund, development partners can make a tremendous difference in helping Africans put food on the table and safeguarding the continent’s food security. In recent decades, development organizations have begun to move away from the traditional model of indirect, external, and top-down solutions. Instead of relying on outside-driven initiatives, the U.S. African Development Foundation’s (USADF) approach, for example, focuses on locally-driven and participatory African engagement. Working at the grassroots level is a game-changer for our development efforts, because without a local understanding of the needs, culture, and context, development cannot be sustainable. Our development model aims to provide capital and resources, build capacity, promote skills development, and improve resilience.

The focus of USADF has been to champion a community-led, participatory approach with a pan-African local network of technical partners to increase incomes, revenues, and job opportunities in marginalized communities. We support local entrepreneurs and community enterprises that are working to address some of Africa’s most significant challenges around food insecurity, energy poverty, and unemployment, particularly among women and youth.

Why We Are Proud to Partner with Herbalife Nutrition

The ability to leverage resources from USADF’s strategic corporate partnerships allows us to amplify USADF’s and our partners’ shared goals. By collaborating with the private sector, we can utilize additional capital and networks for a mutually beneficial partnership that allows for a more significant overall impact.

We are proud to partner with Herbalife Nutrition through its Nutrition for Zero Hunger (NFZH) initiative, as the company and initiative closely align with the mission and goals of USADF, which includes creating pathways to prosperity for underserved African communities. With support from NFZH, we plan to support five African social entrepreneurs through our Food and Nutrition Stars (African FANS) Program.

The African FANS program is an opportunity to support entrepreneurs who are already working hard to eliminate hunger and improve lives and livelihoods in their communities. Our goal for the African FANS is to expand their businesses and their local capacity. By sourcing from nearby farmers and hiring community members, local incomes will rise and have knock-off positive benefits on nutrition. The African FANS, along with our cohort of approximately 415 current grantees across Africa, are also committed to training others and sharing their knowledge, which will sensitize community members on the importance of good nutrition and help lead to a long-term reduction in food insecurity.

Empowering African Entrepreneurs through the African FANS Program

Programs such as African FANS are a great start to facilitating nutritional education and reducing malnutrition in vulnerable populations. When evaluating applicants for the FANS program, we considered their business experience, the history of their enterprise, and the products or services they would provide. Our focus was on the issues present in their communities and how they would use the seed funding from USADF to present solutions. We also looked for innovators by seeking applicants who have been successful in doing things in new and different ways in the agricultural sector.

Local agricultural business in Africa

We are excited to announce this year’s NFZH FANS awardees and their initiatives:

  1. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, Colourful Giggles Nutrition, Nigeria, offers families affordable, nutritious cereals made from local products to combat malnutrition and stunting.
  2. Eric Muthomi, Stawi Foods and Fruits, Kenya, benefits smallholder farmers, especially women, enabling them to increase their incomes and improve production and quality control.
  3. Nobukhosi Ndlovu, Nutrie Foods, Zimbabwe, supports rural women farmers through contract farming and efficient farming and agribusiness training.
  4. Innocentia Maine, MIS Poultry Farm, South Africa, focuses on broiler production and nurturing and caring for chicks until they are fully grown and ready to be distributed to various local communities.
  5. Priscilla Akoto-Bamfo, Shepherd’s Mills, Ghana, engages rural women in parboiled rice production and packaging.

NFZH African FANS will address the challenges of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition for local populations via sustainable local solutions such as:

Success Stories: African Women Farmers Scaling Up Impact

By investing in and mobilizing women and girls, we can address some of the root causes of hunger and malnutrition. Four out of five of the African FANS grantees are women. Data show that when women are economically empowered and educated, their families experience positive health impacts, increased household incomes, and a higher likelihood of educating the next generation. The mobilization of rural communities is central to our work at USADF, and we know that when efforts to address hunger are locally led, they are much more sustainable.

Peju northern Nigeria meeting

We aim to harness the power of women farmers to fuel community prosperity. By inspiring and supporting female farmers, we can chip away at the pervasive gender imbalance within the African agriculture sector. Members of Binkola Cooperative, a female-led farming cooperative in Mali, often face gender discrimination that can slow down production and even prevent them from owning land. With grant funding and technical assistance, they were able to purchase equipment and livestock, and received training on correct agricultural practices. After two years, the average woman’s income increased by more than 500 percent.

Another success story is the Turkana Agro-Pastoralist Development Organization in Kenya. With USADF funding, they installed a solar-powered drip irrigation system to reduce erosion and more efficiently water their crops. This new irrigation system minimizes the ecological impact on water and food while providing healthy fruits and vegetables to the community.

Addressing the challenges of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition for local populations in Africa is a pressing issue that requires the immediate action of motivated partners. With the support of partners such as Herbalife Nutrition, we hope to double down on entrepreneurs previously funded by USADF on their journeys to self-reliance as they address food and nutritional security in their communities.

To learn more about USADF, visit their website here.