Twin Cities-based Cargill has donated more than 22 million pounds of rice to help fight hunger and malnutrition in northeastern Kenya.
The rice will go to the United Nations World Food Program, which estimates the grain will feed nearly 1 million people for one month. It's the largest food donation ever given by a company to the World Food Program USA.
Cargill was in a good position to make the donation, said the company's executive vice president and chief risk officer Emery Koenig.
"As far as originating grain, getting it shipped to a port, getting it transported, and getting it into a destination where we can provide a need or fill a demand — this is very much in line with what Cargill does every day," Koenig said.
The World Food Program is scaling up its operations in northeastern Kenya to reach 3.75 million people affected by drought. The area is part of a larger region in the Horn of Africa where 13 million people are at risk for starvation or malnutrition, according to the World Food Program.
"We had such immediate need, with the millions of people who are really having serious problems as far as nutrition and getting access to food, that we felt we needed to do something more immediate to help bring the rice into the Horn of Africa to address the problem as fast as we possibly could," Koenig said.