Fighting Famine in the Horn of Africa
To help families through the worst drought in 65 years, Cargill donates and delivers 10,000 metric tons of rice to the eastern region of Africa.
January 01, 2015
In 2011, a devastating drought took hold across the Horn of Africa, in the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, and resulted in an extensive food shortage across the region. More than 13 million people, the combined populations of Los Angeles and Berlin, were in need of emergency food assistance.
In Somalia, the situation was extreme. And, for the first time in 20 years, the United Nations officially declared a famine in Somalia, a specific condition created by severe hunger, malnutrition and related deaths. To complicate the emergency, 20 years of war and violence had destroyed the country’s ability to assist its citizens and blocked humanitarian organizations’ access to provide support. Left with no choice, hundreds of thousands of Somali families crossed their country on foot and headed for overcrowded refugee camps in northeastern Kenya to find food.
Since 2001, Cargill has worked to achieve food security in communities across the globe alongside the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian organization addressing global hunger. To address the plight in the Horn of Africa, Cargill and WFP USA worked together to deliver food where the largest food needs existed.
[video caption] After a 23-day journey from India to Africa, Cargill’s rice shipment is distributed across nine districts in Kenya where the greatest food needs exist.
Cargill, with support from its family shareholders, sourced and delivered more than 10,000 tons (or 22 million pounds) of rice—enough to feed one million people for an entire month.
“This is the biggest single corporate donation ever to the World Food Programme, and it is really making a difference here in this part of Africa.”
— David Orr, spokesman for WFP East and Southern Africa
The effort relied heavily on Cargill’s expertise in sourcing, transportation and logistics. The company arranged for the purchase and bagging of rice from mills in India, and oversaw cargo loading onto a ship in Kakinada. Following a 23-day voyage across the Indian Ocean, the rice arrived at Mombasa, Kenya in November, where it was transferred to WFP and distributed to families in need across nine districts in Kenya.
“We are a company that moves food from areas of surplus to areas of need, every day. This donation has allowed us to use our unique capabilities to help those in need—and that’s been very gratifying,” said Ivan Fernandes, Cargill Kenya Country Manager.
“It has been very stressful, trying to feed my family. I feared for my children’s survival. Because of this assistance, I can now think of other things because at least I am assured that there is food.”
— Rachel Gharo, relief beneficiary in Kenya
Cargill’s rice donation grew out of an urgent appeal from Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, to Cargill’s then CEO Greg Page. Shah described how thousands more children in the Horn of Africa may die without specific action to save their lives.
“Providing emergency assistance is the right thing to do,” said Greg Page, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cargill. “But the public and private sectors also need to focus on long-term solutions to hunger and work together to ensure that all seven billion people on this planet have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food.”