Success Story: Chickpeas in Ethiopia

September 22, 2011 By Keatley Adams

The United Nations World Food Programme, PepsiCo, and USAID have joined forces in an innovative public-private partnership to combat hunger and malnourishment among Ethiopian children.  The new initiative, dubbed Enterprise EthioPEA, will assist Ethiopian chickpea farmers in expanding their crops and then use the additional chickpeas to make a ready-to-eat food product for malnourished children.  The project will last for two years, during which time it will help over 40,000 children and 10,000 farmers.

Ready-to-eat foods are easy to deploy in developing countries and play a crucial role in combating child hunger. However, these products tend to be made of peanuts, which means that they must often be imported.  Chickpeas, already grown and widely eaten locally in Ethiopia, provide a local alternative that can eliminate much of the transportation costs involved in using the peanut products.  Chickpeas are also very nutritious, as they contain large amounts of protein, iron, and calcium, which are vitally needed for children’s health and growth.

The local nature of the Enterprise EthioPEA is encouraging.  When the program was announced, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah emphasized that local solutions are necessary to deal with the famine in the Horn of Africa.  The sponsors hope the project will be a sustainable way of developing the economic situation of the farmers, while also functioning as an emergency relief measure for impoverished children in the region.  According to the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, “Enterprise EthioPEA will change the lives of tens of thousands of children and will chart the course for future partnerships to help stamp out hunger around the globe.”