Cargill’s rice donation now reaching families in drought-stricken areas of the Horn of Africa 

December 15, 2011

Cargill’s donation of 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) of rice to World Food Program USA is now reaching some of the people most in need in Kenya. The rice will feed nearly one million people for one month.

The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa, coupled with high food prices and conflict in Somalia, has affected some 13 million people throughout the region. Although rains have now started, millions of people remain in need of food aid until the next harvest.

In order to contribute the 200,000, 50 kg (110 pound) bags of rice, Cargill sourced the grain, and managed the ocean transportation and logistics. It chartered a vessel, arranged for the purchase and bagging of rice at mills in India and oversaw the ship’s loading at Kakinada, India. Following a 23-day voyage across the Indian Ocean, the grain arrived in port at Mombasa, Kenya. The donation’s value is approximately $5 million. This donation was matched by money raised by WFP USA from American individuals which supported the costs related to distributing the food throughout Kenya.

Cargill’s rice donation is supporting the UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) efforts in nine districts mainly in northeastern Kenya, where some of the largest food needs in the Horn exist. WFP has been scaling up its operations to reach more of the 3.75 million people who have been impacted by drought and rising food prices in Kenya.

Among those most vulnerable are children under age two who can suffer irreversible damage to their minds and bodies if malnourished and receive special nutritional products to address their specific needs. “It touched me so much as I watched the food distribution in six villages of the Kilifi District to see the rice Cargill donated going to those who need it,” said Ivan
Fernandes, Cargill Kenya country manager. “We are a company that moves food from areas of surplus to areas of need, everyday. This donation has allowed us to use our unique capabilities to help those in need—and that’s been very gratifying.”

In January, more than 32,000 people in the Kilifi District took home rice donated by Cargill. Families also received other food products including yellow split peas and vegetable oil as part of WFP’s ongoing relief and recovery operations in Kenya. Each person receives 7-10 kgs (15-22 pounds) of cereal grains like maize, wheat or rice per month, depending on the severity of the crisis in their region. 

“The past few years have been almost unbearably hard…..because of the stress of trying to feed myself and my children,” said Rachel Gharo, a widow with six children. “With this assistance I can now think of other things, because at least I am assured that there is food.”

Local partners including Kenya Red Cross, World Vision and Diocese of Tharaka are assisting WFP with the rice distribution which is expected to continue through February. “This is the single largest ever corporate food donation to WFP and it’s really making a difference in the lives of people in this part of Africa,” said David Orr, WFP East and Southern Africa spokesman.
 

Rice donated by Cargill is now reaching hungry families in Kenya.

Photos: WFP/David Orr/Kenya  and Cargill/Hamid Hamid /Kenya

In drought-stricken areas of Kenya, many people have been unable to grow or buy enough food to feed their families.

Across the Horn of Africa, 13 million people have been impacted by a crisis unlike any other, brought on by conflict and the worst drought in 60 years.

"The past few years have been almost unbearably hard," said Rachel Gharo, a widow with six children.  "There has been a lot of starvation and not enough to eat."

Children under age two are at risk of irreversible damage to their minds and bodies from malnourishment. 

At distributions like this, life-saving food, including 10,000 metric tons of rice donated by Cargill, is helping feed hungry families.

Working with the World Food Program USA (WFP), Cargill chartered a ship and donated 200,000 50 kg. bags of rice, sourced in India, to fight starvation and malnutrition in the Horn.

It is enough rice to feed one million people for one month.

With local partners, WFP is distributing the rice through February in nine districts throughout Kenya, where some of the largest food needs exist in the Horn.

“It touched me so much to see the rice Cargill donated going to those who need it,” said Ivan Fernandes, Cargill Kenya country manager, as he helped hand out food to 32,000 beneficiaries in the Kilifi District in January.

“Cargill is a company that moves food from areas of surplus to areas of need, everyday,” Ivan Fernandes, Cargill Kenya country manager noted. “This donation allowed us to use our unique capabilities to help those in need—and that’s been very gratifying.”

People line up for the food aid, verifying their identities with a thumbprint.
 

Most are subsistence farmers who grow maize and other crops to survive.  But lack of rain for several seasons has devastated harvests.

“People here eat rice maybe once a year, on special occasions,” said Gladys Njema, a single mother of three children. “It’s not easy to come by.  It’s like a gem…something we really appreciate.”

Each family takes home rice donated by Cargill, as well as other food products including yellow split peas and vegetable oil at part of WFP’s ongoing relief and recovery operations in Kenya. Each person receives 7-10 kgs (15-22 pounds) of cereal grains like maize, wheat or rice per month, depending on the severity of the crisis in their region.

Each family takes home rice donated by Cargill, as well as other food products including yellow split peas and vegetable oil at part of WFP’s ongoing relief and recovery operations in Kenya. Each person receives 7-10 kgs (15-22 pounds) of cereal grains like maize, wheat or rice per month, depending on the severity of the crisis in their region.

The food is toted home in many ways including on the back of bicycles

or by the traditional method African women have used for generations.

“This is the single largest ever corporate food donation to WFP and it’s really making a difference in the lives of people in this part of Africa,” said David Orr, WFP spokesman.