October 16th marks an important day around the world that is more relevant and pressing than ever—World Food Day. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has made World Food Day a priority to bring awareness to those who generally get overlooked. From women living in extreme poverty, to climate migrants, and indigenous communities, this year’s theme is ‘Leave NO ONE behind.’
As 2022 has been marked with an ongoing pandemic, violent conflict, increasing temperatures from an ever-changing climate, rising food prices, and international political tensions, progress toward global food security is being compromised over and over again. Building a sustainable world where everyone has access to enough nutritious food should be the priority. Here at Bountifield, we are putting these words into action as we continue our mission supporting entrepreneurial development in rural communities to cultivate a thriving agricultural industry and resilient food systems, for all.
An Inclusive Food System
But how does one realize a world where everyone has access to the nutritious food they need to thrive? We believe the answer is inclusive growth. There are many individuals involved throughout the entire food system in which we must make a consolidated effort to acknowledge. Unfortunately, all too often women, youth, and rural smallholder food producers are the ones who tend to be overlooked. For example, across the world women are 15 percent more likely than men to be food insecure on average while two thirds of those who face hunger are rural food producers (FAO, 2022).
Our programs are specifically designed to consider each stakeholder within the postharvest process to provide more equitable access to opportunity. From smallholder farmers to rural entrepreneurs, we work to reverberate impact across all parties within rural communities. By creating more agency through tools, trainings, financing, and resources for women and youth business owners, we are developing opportunities of rural growth and prosperity. Focusing on specific groups who generally face difficulty gaining access to resources like postharvest technologies, we are helping to establish a thriving agriculture industry.
Young Entrepreneurs Creating Opportunities
Nicholas is a young entrepreneur from Homa Bay in western Kenya. Through Bountifield’s partnership with Cereal Growers Association, he procured both a multi-crop thresher and a maize sheller. With this equipment, Nicholas travels around to different farmers to provide fee-for-service postharvest processing for maize, sorghum, and other crops. Through his business, he is helping farmers to process their crops, more quickly and more efficiently. Farmers have been sharing with him that they are seeing for themselves how they are avoiding postharvest loss by being able to process more bags than previous seasons. He also works as an aggregator of grains and this helps farmers to find buyers for their processed crops.
Not only is Nicholas helping his community to process, save and sell more food, but he is also able to create more jobs in his area, particularly for other rural youth to help him with his business as operators, transporters and other support roles. “There are many opportunities in my community that have not been fully explored like agricultural mechanization, postharvest management, produce aggregation and markets,” said Nicholas. Through his own agribusinesses and ventures, he hopes to be able to encourage and mentor other youth to explore these opportunities.
By including opportunities like these in rural communities that are available to anyone is how we can make global food systems more resilient together and realize inclusive growth. Equipping one rural entrepreneur with a machine has the potential to provide technical access for numerous farmers, that help rural communities efficiently process, save, and sell more food. And we are not alone in our mission. Collective action across 150 countries worldwide makes World Food Day one of the most celebrated days on the UN calendar. It is up to all of us to make change.
Together, we can help more entrepreneurs like Nicholas. Join us today with a donation in honor of World Food Day.