The monies were awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The idea is to accelerate the implementation of localized, sustainable complete feed production in sub-Saharan Africa.
This is one of the first investments from the foundation in the animal feed space.
Compound feed production across Africa is limited and feed production facilities are costly to install due to inefficiencies and infrastructure challenges. As a result, small-scale livestock producers face declining incomes and uncertain futures, unless they gain access to quality animal feed, according to the Dutch group.
The US$4.8m grant will directly fund 21 Hendrix4U complete feed production projects initially in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Uganda.
Hendrix4U provides a ‘factory-in-a-box’ for rural areas ensuring access to quality compound feed production for small-scale producers, in a financially sustainable way, said Nutreco.
In addition to those production units, the grant will support access to training and education for feed producers in those markets. They will learn how to evaluate raw materials in terms of quality and nutritional values to validate the use of local crops for specific animal nutrition applications.
They will also be taught about how to lower the risk of mycotoxin contamination in compound feed components, and they will be given training in feed mill management, finance, and business acumen, among other topics.
Nutreco CEO, Fulco van Lede, noted that more than half of the projected global population growth in the coming decades will take place in Africa. Many there, he continued, will face food insecurity and hunger if there is no investment in innovation backed development to increase the sustainable production of food in the region. “Today’s grant funding serves as validation of the work we are doing in Africa to equip producers with the right tools to future proof their livelihoods.”
Africa is a key growth region for Nutreco. The company entered the region in 2001 by acquiring a share of the Egyptian company Hendrix Misr, which came under full ownership in 2013 and was renamed Skretting Egypt. It increased its presence there in 2014 through a fish feed joint venture in Nigeria, and, in 2016, it also started a similar partnership in Zambia.
Earlier this year, Nutreco announced it had formed further aquaculture focused alliances in Kenya and Uganda.