AFRICA – Ardent Mills, the US-based flour milling and ingredients company, has joined Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit with a focus on improving food security, nutrition and economic development in Africa.

Partners in Food Solutions connects corporate volunteers with small and growing food businesses in eight African countries, where the population is expected to double by 2050.

Ardent Mills becomes the latest corporate partner in the Partners in Food Solutions group, joining General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, Bühler and The Hershey Company.

“Our social responsibility efforts are focused on ending hunger and educating people on the value of grains to a healthy, balanced diet in the communities where we live and work across North America.

By joining hands with Partners in Food Solutions, we are expanding our reach with these efforts on a truly international scale,” said Dan Dye, Ardent Mills CEO.

“We are all about nourishing what’s next and engaging our team members in helping others.”

The company’s volunteer experts, through a model of remote consulting pioneered by Partners in Food Solutions, will connect with African client businesses to provide technical and business expertise.

Through this program, the company seeks to “strengthen the middle of the local food system – the processing sector (to) create a ripple effect of stable markets for smallholder farmers, job growth and more nutritious food available to consumers” in the Continent.

“We believe that supporting the development of a robust local food industry in Africa is at the heart of building stable and thriving communities,” said Partners in Food Solutions CEO Jeff Dykstra.

“Africa is home to more than 1.2 billion people and that population is expected to double to 2.4 billion by 2050.

Harnessing the power of the private sector can have a significant impact on increasing food security across the continent for a rapidly growing population,” he said.

Partners in Food Solutions has already helped more than 700 food companies through training or consulting projects, and has gone from working in four countries in 2011 to eight in 2017.

It has 980 volunteers who have contributed 75,000 hours of technical and business expertise to promising food processors, who in turn are doing business with 896,000 smallholder farmers.

It collaborates closely with TechnoServe, Root Capital, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.