A healthy productive life requires adequate nutrition. Yet around the world, millions of people are undernourished and hungry.Poor nutrition not only stunts the growth of children in developing countries but also inhibits the economies in which they live. A lack of daily nourishment perpetuates cycles of poverty and hunger, leading to poor health, lower levels of education and lost productivity and wages.
IFC is working with partners to address the issue of chronic malnutrition and its negative impact on human capital development. A recent investment in Africa Improved Foods Limited (AIFL) will establish a nutritious food processing plant in Rwanda that eventually will feed an estimated one million malnourished children, pregnant and breast-feeding women each year.
The AIFL project, a joint venture by Royal DSM, the Dutch development bank FMO, the UK Development finance institution CDC and IFC promises significant development impact. Using maize and soy sourced and grown locally by Rwandan farmers, the processing plant will develop fortified blended foods for young children and their mothers, supporting the prevention and treatment of malnutrition amongst this vulnerable population. The project was made possible with funding from the private sector window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a donor fund managed by IFC. The private sector window uses blended finance solutions and concessional funding to support projects which may not attract commercial funding due to perceived high risks in the agricultural sector.
GAFSP co-invests alongside IFC funding and helps address market failures by providing risk mitigation and more affordable terms to farmers. The investment in AIFL was preceded by IFC and GAFSP support for a program with KCB Bank to providing financing and training for eleven farmers’ cooperatives to help them boost maize and soy production for supplying the food processing plant.
That means that IFC can help malnourished children in one of the world’s poorest countries, by giving them access to fortified nutrients that will allow them to reach their full potential. It also means that farmers in Rwanda can gain access to higher-quality inputs and better farm management practices to address the persistent food security and malnutrition crisis in the country.
date published: 10/15/15