Food processing is an integral component to food security. By processing certain foods, we can extend the shelf-life of these foods and reach more people in need. In addition, food processing helps to reduce post-harvest loss by making use of harvested food before it spoils.
In Africa, the World Food Bank maintains a strong relationship with PacMoore, one of the world’s largest food manufacturers that also holds the express vision of feeding the world. In fact, PacMoore’s mission statement is, “Fueled by employee life transformation, PacMoore will strategically establish global food processing centers in low-income communities to provide jobs, food, and hope.”
This month, we sat down with PacMoore’s CEO Bill Moore to discuss the company’s work in Africa. PacMoore got its start on the African continent 8 years ago, setting up operations in Uganda, where they hired 200 farmers and leased 2,000 acres of land. Growing both amaranth and soy, PacMoore eventually found more success in the latter crop and has been focused on soy farming ever since, processing the offtake. They currently also sell their soy seeds to Makere University, another World Food Bank partner.
While Moore acknowledges the importance of the processing sector to creating more food security in Uganda, he also admits there are several challenges facing the sector currently, which PacMoore is working to address.
“Africa has numerous issues for food processing.The first is accessibility,” he said. “The roads are very rough and make transportation difficult and expensive. The second is power. The power grid is unreliable and forces companies to run their own generators which is very expensive.”
Moore also adds that there are several other issues, including African countries adopting policies that encourage more investment into the manufacturing sector, finding skilled labor, and the environmental hazards, such as air quality control, of placing manufacturing centers in rural areas of Africa.
On the first issue, Moore points out that investments of U.S. dollars are very hard to get out of African countries. Manufacturing sites require engineers, mechanics, and other skilled laborers, which are hard to find and hard to train on site. In rural areas, the lack of sanitation and the plethora of animals create air quality issues that are difficult to control.
PacMoore is currently working to address these issues through a new project in Ethiopia. “We are helping with a project in Ethiopia to help build a factory to feed refugees and schoolchildren,” Moore said. “The project requires processing numerous local grains with micronutrients and healthy fats. It would employee thousands of farmers and require hundreds of locals to run the plant. The factory would be unique to Ethiopia in that it would bring global food safety standards to manufacturing allowing for distribution outside of Africa.”
To learn more about PacMoore, visit their website.