Agribusiness Biggies Teaming Up to Address Hunger in Africa

The MV Caroline Scan, chartered by the World Food Programme, is protected by a Finnish Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment from the EU Naval Force – April 2013. Photo courtesy of European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta

For the first time the world’s leading agribusiness conglomerates are teaming up to fight hunger and prevent famine in East Africa. The companies, Cargill, Bunge, ADM and Louis Dreyfus Company will contribute collectively $525,000 to the World Food Programme. The WFP is the world’s leading humanitarian group which is fighting hunger, reaching tens of thousands of people each year in East Africa.

The WFP launched an organized response to the famine in South Sudan which was created by the war going on there. They are also addressing the issue of extreme malnutrition in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. In those countries, acute drought ruined thousands of acres of crop land, leaving millions of families at the mercy of emergency food assistance.

“We can turn the tide and save millions of lives,” said President and CEO of World Food Programme USA Rick Leach. “Support from leading companies and individuals will be the key to reaching millions of people as quickly as possible before it’s too late.”

Today over 16 million people in the region are negatively affected by economic instability, conflict and drought, for example:

•    Somalia has experienced almost complete crop-failure after two years of poor rainfall. About 3 million people in this devastated country are facing the possibility of not knowing where their next meal is coming from.
•    Political conflict and war have placed over 40 percent of the population in South Sudan in need of emergency food assistance, and an additional 100,000 are in danger of starvation.
•    Due to extreme drought conditions in Ethiopia about 5.6 million people need emergency food assistance.
•    There are about 344,000 malnourished children in Kenya due to extreme drought conditions.

Money raised from the private sector allows WFP to emergency food assistance and nutrition help. The organization uses e-voucher-cards to purchase food locally, in-kind rations, and targeted support for young children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.

“Companies and individuals are stepping up to address the emergency and advance longer term solutions,” said Leach. “We hope it inspires others to donate and get involved today.”

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