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Zero-Interest Loan to Support Production of African Corn Meal
Wednesday, August 23, 2023


The Sun Valley Resilience Institute has just completed a zero-interest loan to a Boise man who is  producing high-quality traditional corn meal using African corn varieties.

The Institute’s Impact Idaho Fund made the loan to Emmanuel Nkurunziza, who is making Koborewa Corn Meal to meet the demands of the African Diaspora and LatinX communities in the Boise area.

The loan will facilitate the purchase of a small-scale Meadows Mill stone burr mill and packaging equipment that will be used to process and package African corn varieties for sale to ethnic communities in Boise. Their hand-scale production involves traditional farming techniques and cottage-style milling operations.

The mill operation will be located at the Food Hub Facility at Global Gardens, a Boise-based farm founded and staffed by refugees. The first crop was planted in May and is expected to be harvested at the end of September. The corn, grown using sustainable organic practices, will be milled in November after a two-month drying period.

“Demand for the flavors for home is high since the COVID pandemic,” said Nkurunziza. “The commercially available corn meal options are a poor substitute. I have farmed my whole life and have a passion for business development. I am excited to bring my passions together to produce this culturally celebrated food for the Boise community.” 

Chief Investment Officer Catherine Rotchford said Koborewa is an ideal portfolio company for the Impact Idaho Fund: “Their growing practices respect and restore the soil, their business model puts the rights and well-being of workers first, and their production fills a gap for a culturally important food.”

Sales will be available through regional farmers markets, CSAs and an online store. 

Koborewa Corn Meal is the sixth regional food business to receive a low or zero-interest loan from the Impact Idaho Fund. To date, $417,000 has been allocated to community businesses to build regional resilience. Sun Valley Institute for Resilience is currently seeking donors to continue expanding the reach and impact of this funding tool. 

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