Sep 02, 2011 • By

Renewed call for support for famine in Africa

Some of our nation’s most influential leaders, including house minority leader Nancy Pelosi and USAID administrator Raj Shah, convened in Minneapolis Wednesday to address the famine in the Horn of Africa.

View coverage of the event by the NBC-TV affiliate in Minneapolis.

Shah stopped by our headquarters to meet with executives from both General Mills and Cargill to talk about immediate relief efforts to address the famine in the short-term, as well as sustainable, long-term solutions to fight hunger and create a foundation of food security across Africa.

To address immediate famine response needs, the General Mills Foundation stepped up as a first responder in the Twin Cities donating $100,000 in support to the American Refugee Committee (ARC).

This Twin Cities-based humanitarian organization has a team in Somalia distributing food in the nation’s capital of Mogadishu. The General Mills Foundation pledged an initial $50,000 donation to ARC and offered an additional $50,000 donation as a match to spur further Twin Cities corporations to lend support to the relief efforts.

To date, the Foundation’s challenge has leveraged an additional $300,000 in support to ARC with contributions from local companies, Mosaic and Best Buy.

(Front row, left to right: Michelle Grogg, Cargill and Tjada McKenna, USAID. Back row, (left to right: Mike Fernandez, Cargill; Greg Page, Cargill; Dr. Raj Shah, USAID; Jeff Dykstra, Partners in Food Solutions; Ken Powell, General Mills; Kim Nelson, General Mills; Ward Brehm, Partners in Food Solutions; Ellen Luger, General Mills)

While at General Mills, Shah also learned more about our Partners in Food Solutions program, a hunger-fighting nonprofit that brings food production and food processing expertise to small and medium-sized food processors in African nations.

Partners in Food Solutions leverages the deep food processing expertise and technical leadership skills at General Mills and partner companies to transfer critical knowledge to food processors in Africa, who can then produce more food and feed more African people. This enables local food processors to source more ingredients from local small-holder farmers, many of them women, creating an important and stable outlet for their crops.

Both short-term and long-term solutions are critical in the fight against hunger, and should inspire companies to think creatively about how they can lend their support and expertise to global food and nutrition security — an issue Kofi Annan has called “the challenge of our time.”

To learn more about the work we’re doing in Africa, read Kim Nelson’s post, “Africa’s people and potential.”

To make a donation to famine relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, visit ARC’s website.