Food and Nutrition Security


We believe that a hungry stomach is a brewery for chaos. Our programs are designed to ensure that communities are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to help them produce adequate food for subsistence use and agribusiness exploits. At the core of our philosophy of food security, we customize our interventions to ensure accessibility and safety across all the social classes of our target beneficiaries


Agriculture is the backbone of the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) economy. The sector employs between 50 and 70% of the population, contributing between 22 and 50% of the nation’s GDP. Smallholder farmers (SHFs) contribute 80% of the food consumed locally. More than 76% of working adults in the region are smallholder farmers. However, they are by far the poorest people in the region. On average, a family owns between 0.2 and 2 acres of land, which barely produces sufficient food for the whole family. As an alternative, farming families opt to engage in manual labor elsewhere to earn extra cash that can bolster their income from farming. On the flip side, the demand for highly nutritious food products exceeds the supply, at least in the long term.  In the short term, during the harvesting seasons, the supply of fresh produce exceeds demand, leading to wastage of between 40 and 50% of the produce.

Malnutrition among adults and children aged five to nineteen years is relatively higher compared to the rest of the world. In central Africa, only 30% of households have access to healthy diets. The situation is worse in Eastern Africa. Combined, the region has over 180 million undernourished people and over 194 million people lacking access to secure food resources. At least 30% of the population in eight Eastern and Central African countries is undernourished. More than 32.5% of residents in the region experience moderate-to-severe food insecurity. Over the last decade, the number of undernourished people in Africa has increased by 10%, especially among children and women. On average, 35% of children under five years old in the region are stunted, and over 38% of women between 14 and 49 years old are anemic. Regional conflict, climate change, and inflation have been identified as the main drivers of chronic food insecurity. At FOPCO Africa, we strive to address the challenge arising from climate change and inflation to ensure local communities produce more and healthier food by leveraging environmentally sustainable solutions that are accessible to all.


So, what do we do to enhance community resilience against hunger?


We work with the community to build the knowledge and skillsets of farmers

Food production in Africa still falls short of the global average by over twofold per unit land area. Over the last four decades, the production of basic food commodities like cereals has tripled, but at the cost of losing more and more natural habitats. Within the same period, the land under production increased by 133%, from 48 to 112 million hectares. The productive capacity of farms in the region has stagnated, on average producing only 1.75 tons per hectare, which is a fifth of what countries in Europe produce. Dwindling productivity and profitability in the sector can be directly attributed to the agronomic techniques and methodologies used by SHFs. In comparison, many farmers in Africa are 30 times less efficient than their counterparts in Europe. Already, this puts them in a much disadvantageous position competitively in the global markets.

Our capacity-building program seeks to complement the state agricultural extension services offered by the national and sub-national governments. In many countries in Eastern and Central Africa, the ratio of agricultural extension officers to farmers averages from 1:1500 to 1:3000. In some regions, a single extension officer is responsible for up to 7000 farmers, 17 times as much as the FAO recommended ratio of 1:400. The wide gap in service delivery and the limited state resources accorded to extension programs translate to inadequate capacity-building initiatives in select regions. We seek to accelerate capacity-building initiatives by adopting viable approaches that have been tested and shown optimal adaptability at scale in the region. We scale our interventions by leveraging digital tools and engaging local community trustees as Village-Based Advisors (VBAs). Through these approaches, we exploit established social constructs to foster our interventions while also creating employment opportunities for VBAs, who offer their services at minimal fees for the sustainability of the intervention. We integrate virtual, physical, and hands-on learning models to accommodate the special needs of diverse community members. To enhance our effectiveness, we embrace partnerships with other stakeholders within the private sector, such as research institutions, civil societies, religious organizations, and government departments.

We partner with other stakeholders to ensure access to green storage solutions at the farm gate level

At FOPCO Africa, we strive to integrate our solutions to ensure a significant contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2; Zero Hunger, SDG 7; Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 13; Climate Action. We partner with other industry leads in the manufacture of green storage solutions to ensure that farmers have access to cold storage at their farm gates. Approximately 40-50% of fresh produce is lost post-harvest in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of inaccessibility to proper cold storage solutions. This is food that could easily be saved if farmers were able to access cold storage solutions. The high initial installation cost and poor distribution of electricity significantly limit the potential of cold storage solutions at length. Off-grid, solar-powered cold storage refrigeration systems can extend the shelf life of fresh produce from 2 to 21 days at the farm gate. By partnering with manufacturers for the acquisition of cold storage solutions and operating walk-in cold storage hubs where a farmer can store a kilogram of produce for as low as five cents per night, we easily navigate against the high initial cost that a single farmer will incur to access cold storage services and also navigate around the need for on-grid electricity supply. Our off-grid walk-in cold storage solutions reduce food loss by between 50 and 90% of high-value horticultural crops, increasing profitability to farmers by between 150 to 400%. As an add-on, the units are used by farmers in off-grid areas to charge phones and light torches, increasing their connectivity and access to clean lighting energy.

We work with lead farmers to increase access to local and international markets

Approximately 80% of Eastern and Central African populations live in rural settlements. Out of these, over 75% are directly involved in agriculture as a source of livelihood. To sustain their daily bread, farmers produce a wide range of crops for both subsistence and commercial use. Commercial-use produce is usually of high value and highly perishable. Farmers often have to sell the produce within days if not hours post-harvest or risk losing so much. As a common practice, the majority of farmers rely on middlemen who are perceived as ‘connected’ to outside markets in the urban regions. This mode of supply is often exploitative and in singular dictates the purchase price of the commodities. The middlemen also control prices in the local markets. Depending on a specific crop, farmers lose between 20 to 200% of potential profit from selling through middlemen rather than selling directly to the end-users. To bridge this gap, FOPCO Africa leverages digital tools to avail information on the prevailing market prices for different commodities at the farmers’ palm. We organize farmers into groups and cooperatives, offer the appropriate agronomic knowledge and skillset, and work through partnerships to ascertain that they access better-rewarding markets.  We follow up to ensure that farmers receive their money through mobile wallet options within 72 hours post-supply and integrate financial literacy to enable them to manage farming as a business rather than a hobby.

We partner with local institutions to enhance farmers' access to credit and units of production

Crop and livestock production are resource-intensive activities for profitable returns. Inadequate access to seeds, fertilizers, and pest control products are among the leading causes of poor productivity in the region. Among the eleven countries that FOPCO Africa operates in, the uneven distribution and access to production resources among farmers play a significant role in the overall yield output. Adoption of improved varieties and certified seed remains significantly low among SHFs in the region, generally ranging from 5.5% in countries like Uganda to 30% in other countries like Kenya. Inadequate access to information and monetary resources to secure high-quality, improved seeds contributes to low adoption. A similar trend has been witnessed for the use of fertilizer, with use prevalence among SHFs averaging 46% in the region.  The use of improved, certified seeds and fertilizers, in combination, can double or triple a farmer’s yield over a single cropping season. To tap into the potential that this intervention presents, we at FOPCO Africa work with other industry leads in scaling the access to certified seeds and fertilizers among smallholder farmers.  We work with development partners to create a revolving fund that supplies farmers with basic farming inputs such as seeds and fertilizers at minimal profit margins. We enable farmers to ensure optimal productivity without having to worry about initial investment costs at the onset of a cropping season.

We help farmers plan ahead

Farming in the region is >90% reliant on rainfall. On average, less than 10% of the farmland is irrigated. Rain-fed agriculture has increasingly been more unprofitable due to the prevalence of erratic rainfall patterns. The conventional production patterns are no longer reliable and farmers have no central information dispersion system for forecasted weather information.  We strive to ensure that farmers receive forecasted monthly and quarterly weather information