Unilever, GAIN partner for smallholder nutrition

GAIN | 22 January 2015 – Zero Hunger Challenge participants GAIN and Unilever have signed an agreement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that aims to improve the lives of 2.5 million farmers and their families.

The Memorandum of Understanding has targets to improve the health and nutrition of smallholder farmers and farm workers in Unilever’s supply chain, through the creation of a global Nutrition Intervention Programme (NIP).

GAIN-logo_wR_med“Investing in nutrition through supply chains improves the living conditions of farmers and their families, the impact of which is felt throughout entire communities.” -Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director, GAIN

Rural communities are among the most food and nutrition insecure populations, with women and children bearing the highest health burden. Childhood stunting rates in rural areas are higher than urban areas due to the lack of availability of nutritious foods, particularly during lean seasons. The programme will improve the diets of farmers and their families in Unilever’s supply chain with a specific focus on female farmers, pregnant women and young children. It will also contribute to improved nutrition through hand washing, based on Unilever’s successful Lifebuoy model.

unilever logo“There is a business argument as well as a moral case for this.” – Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever

Over time the programme will aim to reach all of Unilever’s 800,000 smallholder farmers and their families, improving nutrition for 2.5 million people in rural communities. The first programmes will be implemented in India to improve the nutrition and health of more than 20,000 farming families (100,000 people) in Unilever´s food business supply chain. Interventions will include better information on nutritious diets, increased access to vegetables and livestock and planting nutrient rich trees and plants in between planting cycles.

Read the full announcement, including information on the 2014 Global Nutrition Report, GAIN and Unilever, here.