2021 Annual Report

Woman posing with many sacks of maize flour

Fiscal Year 2021
Annual Report

Strong roots.
Bright future.

Our Mission

Partners in Food Solutions works to increase the growth and competitiveness of food companies in Africa. In doing so, we improve access to safe, nutritious, affordable food and promote sustainable economic development across food value chains - from smallholder farmers to consumers.

We address the holistic needs of high-potential clients by linking highly skilled corporate volunteers from our consortium of leading companies with promising entrepreneurs and by building sustainable ecosystem partnerships across Africa.

Growing Deeper

Over the past 13 years, Partners in Food Solutions has continued to grow broadly - adding new countries, new partners, new clients and new volunteers. From our beginning at General Mills in 2008 to today, we have achieved many milestones by continuously expanding our reach. 

In June, we launched a new strategy that has been enabled by our past success, yet is distinctly different  - we are now focused on going deeper. Going deeper with our clients, with our volunteers, and in food ecosystems across Africa. This will enrich our work with each of these stakeholders and create long-lasting impact.

We are now offering new, supplemental services to our high-potential clients, knowing that by helping accelerate their businesses we can have greater reach and impact on the local food value chain, from farmers to consumers. 

We are going deeper with our volunteers as well, offering a variety of new, meaningful ways to engage through opportunities like mentoring. In fact, in just the first few months of our new strategy, we’ve seen sustained growth in opportunities available to our volunteers.  

Even the structure of our organization has grown deeper in Africa, with the majority of our full-time staff now located in the countries where we work. 

I hope you enjoy scrolling through this report, seeing the new faces of our growing team in Africa, and hearing about the impact of our work with clients and the volunteers whose expertise and commitment to food security make this work possible.

Gratefully,

Jeff_Signature_2018_0.png

Jeff Dykstra, Co-founder & CEO

Supporting Local Businesses Across the Continent

Partners in Food Solutions has ongoing operations in ten African countries, as well as one client in each of the following countries: Burkina Faso, Eswatini, Madagascar, Peru, and Senegal.

Click on a country to learn more.

Sources: PFS, CIA World Factbook, FAO, World Bank.
 

Cote d'Ivoire
  • Population: 28 million 
  • PFS clients: 10
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 24
  • Population working in Ag sector: 66 %
  • Population considered food insecure: data not available
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 50%
  • Major Ag Products: yams, cassava, cocoa
Ghana
  • Population: 32.3 million 
  • PFS clients: 22 
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 88
  • Population working in Ag sector: 50%
  • Population considered food insecure: 50%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 13%
Nigeria
  • Population: 219.4 million 
  • PFS clients: 12
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 66
  • Population working in Ag sector: 35 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 57%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 25%
Ethiopia
  • Population: 110.9 million 
  • PFS clients: 21
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 62
  • Population working in Ag sector: 70 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 56%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 47%
Kenya
  • Population: 54.7 million 
  • PFS clients: 44
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 194
  • Population working in Ag sector: 75 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 68%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 32%
     
Tanzania
  • Population: 62 million 
  • PFS clients: 14
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 54
  • Population working in Ag sector: 65 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 56%
  • Clients owned/managed by women 57%
     
Zambia
  • Population: 19 million 
  • PFS clients: 21
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 117
  • Population working in Ag sector: 50 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 51%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 33%
     
Malawi
  • Population: 20 million 
  • PFS clients: 5
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 3
  • Population working in Ag sector: 80%
  • Population considered food insecure: 81%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 60%
     
Rwanda
  • Population: 12.9 million 
  • PFS clients: 6
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 2
  • Population working in Ag sector: 62%
  • Population considered food insecure: data not available
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 0%
     
Uganda
  • Population: 44.7 million 
  • PFS clients: 13
  • Volunteers engaged in country: 39
  • Population working in Ag sector: 72 %
  • Population considered food insecure: 69%
  • Clients owned/managed by women: 23%
     
worker in Tanzania

Strong Roots, Grown Over Time

When COVID-19 began sweeping the world in 2020, countless volunteer programs were suspended indefinitely – an acute loss for the estimated billion volunteers who support a gamut of causes. But for PFS, which has always delivered its services virtually, it was business as usual.

In fact, we even saw an increase in our engagements, many taking on an urgency due to significant disruptions in the food value chain caused by the pandemic. A year and a half later, the demand for our volunteer’s expertise and the growth of our client companies has kept pace with the ambitious goals we set out three years ago as part of a corporate strategy that we completed in May.

When we developed our plan to find and cultivate food processors in Africa whom we deemed to have the highest potential - those which are responsibly led, eager to learn from PFS volunteers, and have the internal resources needed to implement recommendations - our hypothesis was that they would help us effect positive changes in local food ecosystems while at the same time provide more and richer volunteer opportunities for pool of experts. As we closed out this three-year strategy, our assumptions were proven throughout our impact metrics. We exceeded all of our targets, both qualitative and quantitative.

Fiscal Year 2021 metrics surpassed all targets

159 High-Potential Clients
150
Cumulative Total
616 Engaged Volunteers
500
97% Client Satisfaction
80%
88% Volunteer Satisfaction
80%

Fiscal Year 2021

Pie chart

478
Services

Client Services

51% Projects
23% Ask an Expert
14% Mentorships
9% Apprentices
2% PFS Client financing
1% PFS Operations

Pie chart

616
Volunteers

Volunteer Expertise

27% Quality & Regulatory
19% Product Development
10% Marketing & Brand Design
9% Process Development
7% Nutrition & Fortification
6% Business strategy
17% Other (Technical)
5% Other (Business)

Woman at food plant

A Bright Future on the Horizon

To bring about the bright future we envision for the African food ecosystem, and to further strengthen the valuable cohort of high-potential clients we have fostered in the past three years, we asked ourselves - where do we go next? The answer - we go deeper.  

This cohort of high-potential clients have the ability to make a significant impact in their local food value chains - bringing more nutritious food to market, growing jobs, providing a market for smallholder farmers, supporting ancillary services, and developing the next generation of food professionals across the continent. We’ve determined that these clients typically use more services and have longer engagements with PFS, and they’ve indicated a desire for more. 

A survey of clients and other ecosystem partners identified three main areas of need beyond the core services that we provide: human capital development like mentoring and apprenticeships, business services such as access to finance and business advising, and technical services including certification, laboratory and capital equipment assistance. 

grain mill in Kenya

To launch this new service growth, PFS has hired new staff to act as product owners for these services. The survey of clients shows that demand is high. Seventy seven percent identified that receiving an international food safety certification is a high priority and 67% also identified that an in-house lab is also important. Sixty four percent of clients indicated that they are very actively seeking outside investment. This tells us that there is a need for additional services, but also that there is an opportunity to connect our clients with other actors in the African food ecosystem such as impact investors. 

Even in the early stages, our new services are showing results. Lucy Buteyo, a senior quality engineer at General Mills is serving as a mentor for Oyeyemi Fadairo of Wilson’s Juice in Nigeria. “The mentorship has been both impactful and rewarding,” said Fadairo, “through our mentorship, we’ve been able to identify necessary areas of improvement at my company in regards to food safety. I have also noticed defining moments that have helped shape my thinking, which I believe will be fundamental in addressing improvements in the food industry.” PFS has successfully placed 113 mentors to date. 

Since our founding, Partners in Food Solutions has worked on what we call a ‘Pull Model.’ We want our clients to actively ‘pull’ expertise from us, based on their own assessment of their needs to strengthen their businesses, rather than pushing prescribed solutions. The fact that our clients are asking for - in essence pulling - more services from us, shows how much they value the assistance of our volunteer experts, and consider us a true partner in the future success of their businesses.

Our Ambition graphic

Volunteers Are Our Greatest Strength

Each of the 616 volunteers that shared their time and expertise this year has made a positive impact on a client, a community, a country and a continent. The passion for food, commitment to help, and know-how that is shared is truly treasured by our clients and we often hear "we consider them part of our family."

  • 17,124 volunteer hours were contributed this year
  • 1377 volunteers currently in our pool of experts
  • 68% of volunteers surveyed said that they have gained new or improved skills through volunteering
man smiling
Woman at Computer

The Need is Still Great

Despite decades of interventions, one in five Africans faced hunger last year. That's more than double the proportion of any other region in the world, and the numbers are going up, not down. Ending hunger requires us to consider food as a system, revealing a range of intersecting challenges that are undermining our progress toward a future that is free of hunger. Local, sustainable solutions - like strengthening African food value chains - can take us farther, faster in our vision of healthy, nutritious food within reach for every African. 

kids with bowl
kids in Africa
rice in hand

Our Vision

Our vision is a thriving, sustainable food industry in Africa and beyond that allows all people access to safe, nutritious, affordable food and creates better lives for people in these communities. 

A world where leaders from world-class companies are inspired to use their core technical and business expertise to solve the world's greatest challenges.

 

Woman at meeting

Board of Directors

Kojo Amoo-Gottfried Vice President, Agriculture Supply Chain North America Business, Cargill

Will Bonifant Vice President, International Supply Chain & Manufacturing, The Hershey Company

John Brase Chief Operating Officer, The J.M. Smucker Company

Kofi Bruce Chief Financial Officer, General Mills

Dan Dye Chief Executive Officer, Ardent Mills

Ken Powell Board Chair. Former Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, General Mills

Purbita Ray Senior Director, Research & Development, General Mills

Andy Sharpe President & CEO, Bühler North America

Hugh C. Welsh General Counsel, Secretary & President, DSM North America

Bruce Wilkinson Board Vice Chair. CEO & President, Catholic Medical Mission Board

Thank You.

We offer our sincere thanks to all our volunteers, corporate partners, donors, clients, and ecosystem collaborators that make our work possible. Your dedication and support has helped grow the strong roots that support our mission and enable the the bright future we envision. 

client in Tanzania
Man in Ghana
worker in Ghana
Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report