WFP, PepsiCo and USAID Fight Child Malnutrition In Ethiopia

Published on 21 September 2011

Children like these will be among the beneficiaries of a partnership launched between WFP, PepsiCo and USAID to create a locally-produced nutrition product in Ethiopia. Copyright: WFP/Judith Schuler

WFP is teaming up with PepsiCo and USAID to develop a specialised nutrition product for children in Ethiopia. The product, made from locally-grown chickpeas, is part of an innovative public-private sector partnership aimed at increasing production of chickpeas in Ethiopia while addressing child malnutrition.

NEW YORK— PepsiCo and WFP on Wednesday announced the launch of Enterprise EthioPEA, a two-year project designed to provide nutrition for more than 40,000 Ethiopian children through a new ready-to-eat food, while at the same time helping 10,000 farmers across the country raise their yields of the product’s key ingredient - chickpeas.

Enterprise EthioPEA will change the lives of tens of thousands of children and will chart the course for future partnerships to help stamp out hunger around the globe,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran.

“We are pleased to be combining powerful local networks, proven experience in development assistance and strong industry expertise to help create new domestic and export food markets,” said Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.

Why chickpeas?

In addition to helping farmers raise their yields and become active players in the global chickpea market, one of the chief goals of Enterprise EthioPEA is to produce a ready-to-eat food product for children suffering from malnutrition.

Ready-to-eat foods are a critical means of getting nutrition to hungry children, particularly during emergencies, as they are easily transportable and require no preparation. Made from peanuts, most of these products are expensive and have to be imported, which makes it important to be able to produce them locally.

Protein, iron and calcium-rich chickpeas provide an ideal solution, particularly in countries like Ethiopia, where they are a staple of local diets.

Ethiopia is already the world’s fifth largest producer of chickpeas, growing some 200,000 metric tons of the legume every year. Experts say that Ethiopia could grow more than twice as much if farmers had access to better seeds and modern farming techniques.

A working model

The food product to be produced in Ethiopia will be modelled after a similar product called “AchaMum” which was developed in Pakistan during last year’s flood emergency.

Chickpeas harvested through Enterprise EthioPEA will be used to make a similar chickpea paste which, like AchaMum, will be used to treat some 40,000 malnourished children in the same country as it was produced.

“This partnership illustrates how we can develop market-based solutions and leverage resources to make a sustainable impact in reducing hunger and poverty,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who underlined the importance of building local solutions to hunger in light of the ongoing hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa.