APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Chickpeas make a strong economic and nutritional contribution to Ethiopian farmers and consumers. They are an affordable source of non-animal unsaturated fats, protein, calcium and iron, while yielding a higher gross margin for farmers than cereals. Chickpeas are mainly grown by subsistence farmers at the end of the rainy season using residual soil moisture. Their production allows farmers to practice double cropping, increasing productivity from scarce land resources, and serving as an additional income source while fixing nitrogen and reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.
USAID will support smallholder chickpea growers in improving production through its comprehensive value chain development program. PepsiCo -- which has a growing chickpea-based business (particularly hummus) -- believes it can use its technology and know-how to help more than double the typical yield of Ethiopian chickpea farmers. PepsiCo is piloting production in two areas with the Ethiopian Institute for Agriculture Research to determine optimal growing conditions. The result of the pilot will determine the scale to which the partnership can expand production to support both the export and local processing of chickpeas. PepsiCo is also working with WFP and a local processor to produce a chickpea-based food aid product that will be piloted to 2,700 children to prove product efficacy. I f the pilot is successful, PepsiCo Foundation has committed $1 million to purchase and distribute the product for one year to up to 40,000 children.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
USAID and PepsiCo will begin their work with smallholders and their own chickpea cultivation with planting in Sept/Oct of 2011 that will harvest in January 2012. There will also be a spring harvest. WFP began the first phase of the project in July 2011; initial assessment acceptability studies will be conducted in fall 2011 with an initial production cycle to tentatively begin in May 2012. Pilot activities are targeted to begin in summer 2012.
The Project expects to produce the following outcomes:
i) Increase the capacity of Ethiopian farmers to consistently and sustainably grow high-quality chickpeas, potentially doubling their chickpea yield.
ii) Develop the capacity of an Ethiopian food manufacturer to sustainably manufacture a new RUSF.
iii) Develop a new locally-produced RUSF that contains the same or better nutritional value as established, but more costly RUSF products, such as plumpy'nut.
iiii) Reduce the current cost structure of RUSFs not only through local procurement and production, but by removing costly private ownership of intellectual property.
iv) Prove the business case for investment in low-cost food products intended for both commercial and humanitarian use.
With a backdrop of acute famine affecting 13 million people across the Horn of Africa, this partnership addresses both the need for food aid products that are more nutritious, tailored to local diets and more cost effective, as well as an underperforming chickpea value chain. The high cost-structure of RUSF production and distribution limits their application in humanitarian operations. Produced internationally and purchased by aid organizations for distribution to hungry communities, RUSFs also perpetuate reliance on foreign aid rather than building internal and sustainable food security. Ethiopia produces 46 percent of Africa's chickpeas, but only 2 percent of the world's. Adoption of improved varieties is constrained by poor farmer access to quality seeds and poor access to credit and a dearth of processing of the crop that keeps its value low.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Best Practice Information, Media/Marketing Opportunities
Additional partnerships that leverage local resources and capacity to ensure production and distribution of special nutritious food product to more children, dissemination of best practices, and media, ultimately stimulating sustainable agricultural development in Africa.