PepsiCo has set up a project it hopes will increase chickpea production and promote long-term nutritional and economic security in Ethiopia.

The US food and drinks giant announced today (21 September) that it had teamed up with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop the Enterprise EthioPEA project.

The initiative aims to support the Ethiopian government’s plans to develop the counry’s agriculture sector and to “dramatically increase” chickpea production in the African country.

Enterprise EthioPEA intends to help farmers use modern agricultural practices and irrigation techniques and develop a locally-sourced supplementary food (RUSF) to address malnutrition and strengthen the Ethiopian chickpea supply chain.

PepsiCo’s investment in Enterprise EthioPEA is part of a global strategy to make the company “a leader in sustainable agriculture around the world”, the company said.

“PepsiCo’s partnership with the World Food Programme and USAID is well designed to address the needs of many of our most important stakeholders, including customers and communities,” said PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. This initiative will positively impact the livelihood of local farmers, address the critical issue of famine in the Horn of Africa and create sustainable business opportunities for PepsiCo.”

USAID administrator Dr Rajiv Shah added: “This unique partnership illustrates how we can develop market-based solutions and leverage resources to make a sustainable impact in reducing hunger and poverty, which is particularly critical in light of the crisis in the Horn of Africa.”