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General feeding

GENERAL FEEDING, GRAIN (PRODUCER), RWANDA

One of the smallest countries on the African mainland, Rwanda is the most densely populated, with a growing population of over 12 million. Children make up more than half of the population, and HIV, AIDS, malnutrition, poor maternal health and child health remain ongoing issues.

The co-founders of grain suppliers, General Feeding Business Centre Ltd. (GFBC), are two former teachers, Mugorewicyeza Magina and Ngirabakunzi Bategeka, who are tackling food insecurity in their region by combining their passion for agriculture, and equality in the supply chain, with their desire to support thousands of rural schoolchildren.

It was while they were working as teachers at local schools, that the GFBC co-founders identified the challenge of securing enough food to last the full year when staff were relying on school fees from parents to meet these costs. As parents of pupils were allowed to stagger payments, it meant that farmers could not be paid at harvest time. Thanks to Shared Interest investors, GFBC is now able to offer flexible terms of payment to the schools they support.


GRAIN OF HOPE FOR NEXT GENERATION

Today, GFBC supplies 90% of their maize, beans and flour to two large secondary schools and the remainder is sold to local retailers. The schools provide lunch to almost 2,000 pupils, and GFBC buys and stores the maize ready for the beginning of each new term, meaning that they gather the produce from farmers in advance. The organisation has a Stock Facility with Shared Interest, to enable them to purchase the grain from farmers at harvest time. They also have a Term Loan to construct their own warehouse for storage purposes. The organisation had previously hired out a storage area but the space provided was extremely limiting, meaning that produce sometimes had to be kept in the car park, covered only by canvas material. If it rained, the effects were devastating. 

Not only does GFBC support schools, but it also works with nine rural farmer groups, 45% of whom are women. The majority of the women are widows, and the regular income has enabled them to pay for school fees and health insurance for their children. 

Due to their academic background, the co-founders have been able to provide training to farmers, especially for young people. They have also provided support on good practice, to improve the quality and quantity of their produce. The farmers are also able to share experiences and knowledge to overcome their challenges.

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