PepsiCo has announced a new five-year $20 million partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in an effort to support a gender-inclusive supply chain while increasing sustainable food production.
The companies will work together under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which was established by the White House last year. The initiative aims to support global food and beverage leader’s efforts to empower women in agriculture and help build a more sustainable food system.
PepsiCo and USAID will each invest an initial $5 million to jumpstart the programme, which will support women-owned small- and medium-enterprises and women-led PepsiCo suppliers to improve the resiliency of rural farming communities in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, if women farmers had the same access to resources as their male counterparts, their food production would increase by up to 30% and help eliminate hunger for 150 million people. However, these women face barriers such as a lack of land rights, limited access to information, technology, and financing, as well as domestic work expectations.
By taking part in the project, PepsiCo hopes to drive inclusivity across the food and beverage industry, by demonstrating that actively engaging women as critical drivers of the company’s sustainable sourcing strategy leads to better business results.
“At USAID, we believe that investing in women is key to advancing a country along its journey to self-reliance. The full economic inclusion of half the world’s population ultimately will contribute to greater peace and prosperity for all,” said USAID acting administrator John Barsa.
He added: “However, we cannot do this important work without collaborating with the private sector. Through the W-GDP Fund, our partnership with PepsiCo will promote economic opportunities and leadership roles for women farmers.”
The partnership builds on PepsiCo and USAID’s recent project in West Bengal, India, in which they provided training on topics such as record keeping, crop rotation techniques, and pest control, and tried to help women lease land. PepsiCo expects its training programme in West Bengal to reach more than 300,000 women through direct and community engagement.