AFRICA – Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), a US nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between corporate expertise and small food companies in Africa, has named Zimbabwean National, Mandla Nkomo, as the new CEO.  

Nkomo is set to become the first African to lead the 15-year-old organization, succeeding current CEO and co-founder Jeff Dykstra who steps down in July. 

Established in 2008, PFS connects African food processing companies with volunteers from major agri-food corporations like General Mills, Cargill, and Smucker, enabling the sharing of technical expertise to address business challenges. 

Ken Powell, chair of the Board and former CEO of General Mills, expressed confidence in Nkomo’s leadership, stating, “Mandla’s positive leadership style and background in agricultural science, combined with his long experience in the agribusiness and development sector, means the future of Partners in Food Solutions is in great hands.” 

Nkomo, who brings over two decades of experience in both public and private sectors, will be based in South Africa. His most recent role was as the chief growth officer for the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative, part of the world’s largest publicly funded agricultural research organization. 

Expressing his vision for PFS, Nkomo emphasized the organization’s impressive track record in aiding African companies.  

He said, “Partners in Food Solutions has an impressive track record of helping African companies overcome challenges related to food safety, product development, quality, and efficiency, all of which help to unlock growth and scale for a new generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.” 

Recognizing the crucial role of local food companies in Africa’s agri-food system, Nkomo emphasized the significance of their mission.  

He stated, “Food systems transformation is now an imperative on the African continent. Strong and capable local food companies will be instrumental to the future of African food security and economic growth, which makes our mission all the more vital.” 

PFS’s impact on its clients is evident in its full-year 2023 report, revealing an average 20 percent increase in revenue, an 11 percent increase in employees, and a nearly 50 percent boost in the farmer supply chain compared to the previous year’s performance. 

Additionally, the organization reported a record demand for technical assistance in 2023, providing nearly 700 services to African client companies. 

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