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Unilever-FtMA Press Release.

Press Release

23 September 2021, Farm to Market Alliance and Unilever are joining forces to find ways for African consumers to access affordable, locally made, food brands like Knorr and Royco produced from indigenous, nutritious and climate resilient crops, supplied by local smallholder farmers.  This new partnership will bring together the Farm to Market Alliance’s Farmer Service Centre model and Unilever’s consumer experience to explore ways for African smallholders to grow ‘Future 50 Foods’ as part of the World Economic Forum’s multi-stakeholder Food Innovation Hubs initiative.

Both the Farm to Market Alliance and Unilever are committed to helping to tackle the unacceptably high levels of hunger and malnutrition on the continent by creating a more sustainable African food system. Developing more sustainable, locally produced nutritional food products that African consumers can afford, while ensuring a decent income for smallholder farmers will be key to success. The first project will focus on finger millet in Kenya which grows in conditions where crops such as maize, wheat and rice don’t prosper as well. Finger millet is also a good source of fiber, vitamin b1 and essential minerals supporting consumer health.

The Farm to Market Alliance’s (FtMA) mission is to develop a sustainable, inclusive, and profitable agricultural sector in Africa. For too long, smallholder farmers in Africa have been subject to a range of barriers preventing them from successfully transitioning to commercial farming. To address this, the FtMA takes a demand-led approach in servicing smallholder farmers, ensuring they have the technologies, skills, and finance they need, while strengthening the surrounding ecosystem, thus providing a holistic value chain solution. FtMA is a consortium led by six organizations, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Bayer, Rabobank, Syngenta, World Food Program (WFP), and Yara. It is seeking to expand its reach and impact and welcomes new partners, such as Unilever, who share its mission.

Unilever Foods and Refreshment’s vision is to make ‘Food a Force for Good’. Unilever believes that through collaboration people can be helped to transition towards healthier diets, while reducing the environmental impact of the global food chain. Unilever will bring its expertise and networks to find ways to stimulate off take of these ‘Future 50 Foods’ and bring these ingredients to tasty and nutritious food products. Unilever is inviting more partners to join the ambition towards achieving more than 100,000 metric tons of annual-off take of Future 50 Foods to enable and stimulate development of the value chain.

“It is Unilever’s ambition to grow the availability and accessibility of nutritious ‘Future 50 Foods’ across Africa at scale, with viable business models for both farmers and producers. We are inviting more partners to join our efforts across the value chain to make a real difference.” – Hanneke Faber, President Foods & Refreshment, Unilever.

“Unilever’s bold new commitment to local sourcing of highly nutritious and climate appropriate foods creates a game-changing opportunity for low-income smallholders, who the Farm to Market Alliance is well positioned to empower and benefit from in response” -Simon Winter, Chair of the Farm to Market Alliance

About Farm to Market Alliance
Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) has a vision to enable sustainable food systems through strengthened markets to empower farmers to increase their yields, incomes, and resilience and to improve African food security. This will be achieved by creating an inclusive and empowering commercial environment throughout the food value chains, supported by appropriate policies and investments in hard and soft infrastructures.

About Future 50 Foods

Unilever and Knorr have teamed up with WWF-UK, plus leading scientists, nutritionists, and agricultural experts, to compile the Future 50 Foods report. The report features 50 nutritious plant-based ingredients – some familiar to many, some less well known – but all selected based on their nutritional value and relative impact on the environment. From cactus to kale, parsley roots to pumpkin flowers, some have higher yields than similar crops, making them an attractive option for smallholder farmers. Meanwhile several are tolerant of challenging weather and environmental conditions, meaning they could prove invaluable in the face of growing climate uncertainty. Through its products, promotions and programmes, Knorr plans to make these foods more accessible for audiences all over the world.


For more information please contact:

Farm to Market Alliance
Website: FtMA
LinkedIn: Farm to Market Alliance