Washington, D.C.—Today, during a global nutrition-focused event co-hosted by Bread for the World Institute and Concern Worldwide, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah underscored the U.S. Government’s long-term leadership in the effort to reduce undernutrition around the world. Administrator Shah made remarks along with The Minister of Trade and Development of Ireland, Joe Costello.
The event, entitled “Sustaining Political Commitments to Scaling Up Nutrition,” follows Administrator Shah’s June 8 participation in the United Kingdom’s high-level meeting in London, “Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science.” In London, on behalf of the U.S. Government, Administrator Shah signed on to the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact endorsing several goals, including:
"Ensuring that a child receives adequate nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window from pregnancy to a child’s second birthday can yield dividends for a lifetime," said Dr. Shah today. "We will continue to work with our partners to promote targeted action in early nutrition that delivers results for some of the most vulnerable people around the world."
Global nutrition has long been a top priority of the U.S. Government and is the defining link between the Global Health and Feed the Future Presidential Initiatives. Launched by then Secretary Clinton and former Foreign Minister of Ireland Micheal Martin, the U.S. Government has been strong supporters of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement through the 1,000 Days partnership, and will continue to work with our partners to promote targeting action. The United States is committed to defining “nutrition-sensitive” and “nutrition-specific” investments to more accurately track nutrition investments annually. In alignment with the international SUN movement, the United States encouraged others to adopt these defined terms to support consistency in financial reporting through donor accountability mechanisms.
In his remarks today, Administrator Shah announced that the U.S. Government has nearly doubled nutrition-specific funding through our global health programs and has tripled agriculture funding since 2008, targeting investments to deliver the greatest results while remaining committed to transparency, accountability, and sustainability. Administrator Shah also announced that the U.S. Government is providing more than $1 billion for nutrition-specific interventions and nearly $9 billion on nutrition-sensitive activities over fiscal years 2012-2014. These investments support and accelerate trends in stunting reduction, aiming to reduce stunting by 20 percent over five years in the areas where Feed the Future works, translating into 2 million fewer stunted children, and in support of World Health Assembly goal to reduce childhood stunting by 40% by 2025.
Administrator Shah also announced that USAID will take the lead in developing a comprehensive nutrition strategy informed by broad U.S. Government agency input and learning, that will serve as the basis for a more robust U.S. Government global nutrition strategy. Supporting this process, USAID has established a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder task force to address anemia across its development programs. Supported by USAID’s Bureaus for Global Health and Food Security, Administrator Shah also announced that he will serve as the U.S. Government Coordinator for Nutrition.
Also in London, Administrator Shah and the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening jointly announced the launch of a Global Open Data Initiative for Agriculture and Nutrition, which will support international partners in their efforts to make agriculturally and nutritionally relevant data available for public global use. The initiative aims to increase the quality, quantity, and timeliness of data that is available, to drive better investments and policies through the creation of new services, products, and knowledge, particularly in nutrition-sensitive agriculture.
“By embracing high-impact partnerships, science, and technology, we can achieve progress simply unimaginable in the past, including the end of extreme poverty, widespread hunger, and chronic malnutrition.” said Administrator Shah.
A silent crisis is happening right now. It affects 165 million children globally, robbing them of the future they deserve and leading to more child deaths every year than any other disease. In a world of plentiful, nutritious foods and advanced science, this is unacceptable.
We can do better. And we can do it together.
At a landmark event in London this weekend, global government, business, and civil society leaders will join together to commit to a different future — one in which every child benefits from the nutrition needed to grow and thrive.
As the head of USAID – and as a parent of young children – I am privileged to show the United States’ support for global nutrition at the Nutrition for Growth event today. This event’s global reach reflects growing recognition that the challenge of undernutrition is solvable, but requires a new approach.
To proactively address the root causes of hunger and undernutrition and get the most out of every development dollar invested, we cannot treat nutrition, global health, and food security as isolated priorities. We must integrate our approach across sectors, forging high-impact partnerships and driving game-changing innovation from farms to markets to tables.
Feed the Future is doing just that, working with businesses, local communities, farmers’ organizations, and country leaders to not only reduce poverty and hunger but undernutrition too. Last year, we reached 12 million children through nutrition programs that reduced anemia, supported community gardens, and treated malnutrition.
This focus reflects the United States’ long history as the global leader in nutrition, from providing emergency food aid during crises to helping farmers and their families grow and consume more nutritious foods.
In fact, we have nearly doubled nutrition-specific funding through our global health programs and we have tripled agriculture funding since 2008, targeting our investments where we can deliver meaningful impact. We’ve also been a strong supporter of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which funds country priorities in agricultural development and nutrition.
Today, I was pleased to announce that the U.S. Government is providing more than $1 billion for nutrition-specific interventions and nearly $9 billion on nutrition-sensitive activities over fiscal years 2012-2014.
These investments support and accelerate trends in stunting reduction; ultimately to reduce stunting by 20 percent over five years in the areas where we work through Feed the Future, translating into 2 million fewer stunted children.
Today we also signed on to the global Nutrition for Growth Compact, endorsing high-level goals for improving nutrition.
Integrating and expanding nutrition activities into our agricultural development programs makes good sense and is effective, as many of our civil society partners demonstrate every day in the field. And a growing body of research and knowledge, including the recently released The Lancet Series on Maternal and Child Nutrition, provides strong evidence that improving nutrition is one of the best ways to achieve lasting progress in development.
Ensuring that a child receives adequate nutrition, particularly in the critical 1,000-day window from a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday, can yield dividends for a lifetime as a well-nourished child will perform better in school, more effectively fight off disease, and even earn more as an adult. Nutrition is central to ending preventable child death.
The evidence is also clear that governments can’t do this alone.
Momentum for improving nutrition is strong, in large part thanks to our civil society partners who have worked tirelessly to mobilize support around the world behind the evidence that nutrition matters. Just today a coalition of U.S. NGOs pledged $750 million over five years in private, nongovernment funds for nutrition.
In a world where private sector investment flows vastly outpace official assistance, nations will only achieve development in partnership with a vibrant and transparent private sector as well. That is the mission behind the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
In just one year, the New Alliance has grown into a $3.75 billion public-private partnership that builds on country investment plans developed by African countries through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program and works to integrate the principles of the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, which recognizes the meaningful impact of nutrition on all aspects of society—from health to agriculture to long-term growth and stability.
During its presidency of the G-8 this year, the United Kingdom has worked hard to carry the New Alliance forward, keeping momentum strong for this groundbreaking partnership.
Ending extreme poverty by advancing nutrition from farms to markets to tables is the vision that brings business, development, and civil society representatives together this weekend.
It’s also what inspires us to work together to ensure that every child has a healthy start and every nation a brighter future.
For updates on the Nutrition for Growth event this weekend and what the United States is doing to improve nutrition, follow the hashtags #Nutrition4Growth and #GHmatters on Twitter.
This post originally appeared on the USAID IMPACTblog.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participated in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony with Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) CEO Anteneh Assefa and Tadele Abraha, owner of Green Coffee, and USAID Ethiopia Mission Director Dennis Weller in recognition of the ECX coffee laboratory becoming the first in Africa to meet the rigorous quality standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
With the certification, U.S. importers of Ethiopian coffee will be able to purchase Ethiopian coffee with confidence that the coffee they receive will be of a specific quality.
Certified labs provide consistent testing, grading and objective evaluation of coffee throughout the world. Lab inspectors ensure global compliance and are an integral part of working toward consistency in grading and evaluation of specialty coffee. Using consistent grading and adhering to international standards will increase the value of Ethiopian Coffee in international markets.
The U.S. Government, through USAID, has supported the Ethiopian coffee sector for the past eight years. The current project, the Agribusiness and Market Development project under the Feed the Future Initiative, and previous projects, provided training, capacity building and marketing support to the sector.
Coffee exports ($860 million last year) are Ethiopia’s top export earner. In 2012, Ethiopia exported $61 million of coffee to the U.S. including sales to Starbucks, Whole Foods and Green Mountain Coffee.
This article originally appeared on the USAID Mission Ethiopia website.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting a new public-private research partnership between the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) and India-based Vibha Agrotech to develop new climate-resilient varieties of rice and wheat, two of the “big three” primary crops required to feed the world. The program is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and it leverages resources from both the public and private sector in Australia and the private sector in India.
Climate change is altering environmental conditions and reducing agricultural productivity, with developing countries showing the greatest vulnerability. South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa are predicted to see yield losses of up to 35 percent by 2050 for major cereal crops, creating significant economic losses and uncertainty for people relying on staple production for their food security. Already, 25 million ha (over 61 million acres) of cereal production is negatively impacted by drought annually, and it is estimated that at least 20 percent of irrigated cropland globally is affected by salinity.
This new collaboration will leverage ACPFG’s unique gene technologies and considerable expertise in cereal stress tolerance and Vibha’s field evaluation and rice transformation capabilities to develop new rice and wheat varieties with enhanced tolerance to drought and salinity, allowing farmers more stable production in the face of sudden drought and evolving salt water intrusion. The new lines will be evaluated under representative field conditions and the most successful will be transferred into the varieties that farmers grow. Work will initially take place in Australia and India, but the technologies will be made available to developing countries in South Asia and globally where climate stresses impact cereal yields, so that farmers can be more confident that they will have a good harvest, even as climate change creates more unpredictable growing environments.
“We have to increase global food production by 60% by 2050, even as climate change is already affecting crop yields,” said Dr. Julie Howard, USAID’s Chief Scientist in the Bureau for Food Security and Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Agricultural Research, Extension and Education. “That means we must use all the tools available to us to grow more food on less land and with less water. USAID is excited to launch this partnership and to leverage new expertise, resources and technologies to help make important cereal crops—and, ultimately, the smallholders who grow them – more resilient to climate change.”
Under the Feed the Future initiative, USAID has considerably expanded its investments in climate-resilient cereal research and development. This collaboration is the latest in a series of partnerships announced recently that leverage significant resources from the private sector and are aimed at helping smallholder farmers adapt to climate change. Along with public and private research partners in the US, Australia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Asia, Indonesia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, USAID is supporting the development of new varieties of rice, wheat, maize, sorghum and millet that are tolerant to heat, drought and salinity and can grow with less fertilizer and water.
“A key role that Australia can play in helping to support food production is through collaboration and sharing of technological advances,” said Michael Gilbert, ACPFG’s General Manager. “The Australian Federal and South Australian Governments established ACPFG as a technology development and delivery organization. Through this support, ACPFG is now recognized internationally as a leading organization in developing and applying the latest technologies to crop improvement.”
About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and under nutrition. More information: www.feedthefuture.gov
About Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics: ACPFG was established in 2003 by the South Australian Government and the Australian Federal Government through the Australian Research Council and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. ACPFG scientists improve cereal crops’ tolerance to environmental stresses such as drought, heat, salinity and nutrient toxicities; major causes of yield and quality loss throughout the world and significant problems for cereal growers. The future resilience of our food production systems in the face of a changing climate will depend upon the development and delivery of new technologies. For more information about ACPFG please visit www.acpfg.com.au.
About Vibha Seeds: Vibha Agrotech Limited (Vibha) is one of the premier private crop genetics and plant breeding research organizations in India. It was established in 1995 at Hyderabad, with a vision of empowering Indian farmers by providing superior quality seeds. Vibha leads the Indian market with its research and development, production and distribution of quality seeds of 230 products in 15 field and 20 vegetable crops. Vibha operate in 22 Indian states through 5500 distributors and 250 thousand dealers, supplying 20 million farmers.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah, joined members of Congress—Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Chris Coons, Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Congressman Ted Poe—to release the U.S. Government’s first Water and Development Strategy. This strategy recognizes the vital role water plays in ensuring the health and economic well-being of people around the world. In addition, it sets out to represent a fundamental shift at our Agency toward a new model of development—defined by public and private partnerships, use of new technology, and emphasis long-term results.
Globally, over 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people lack access to sanitation. Projections are that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under severe water stress conditions.
"We will achieve greater impact by partnering with outside organizations and businesses that leverage innovative approaches and new technologies. This approach will also emphasize sustainability by building local capacities for operations, maintenance, and monitoring," said Administrator Shah.
USAID’s Water and Development Strategy elevates the importance and visibility of water as a development priority within the Agency and highlights its importance in meeting the development imperatives to improve health and increase food security. The Strategy will address global water-related development needs by providing a clear understanding of USAID's approach to water programming, emphasizing how sustainable use of water is critical to saving lives. To achieve this goal, the Strategy sets two strategic objectives:
"This new U.S. Water and Development Strategy will help lift poor people around the world out of conflict and poverty. It is smart, strategic and builds on our past successes using new breakthroughs in science and technology," Senator Durbin said. "It will save water and it will save lives. USAID's new plan will bring water and sanitation—the most basic of human needs—to millions of people around the globe, dousing the flames of global poverty, disease and conflict."
Improving human health and welfare, having adequate nutrition to thrive, and maintaining the sustainability of natural systems requires a coordinated global response to the challenges of water and sanitation access for present and future generations. This Strategy reflects the commitment of the U.S. government to work in partnership with the global community to meet these challenges.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, at a keynote address during the Global Food Security Symposium of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced several new activities to further advance progress of U.S.-led efforts to fight global hunger, poverty and undernutrition. Supported by USAID through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, these announcements include new programs to make effective technologies available to smallholder farmers and enable new opportunities through infrastructure, development.
With a focus on science, business and trade, Administrator Shah’s remarks highlighted U.S. Government progress and commitment fighting global hunger and poverty over the past several years.
“Feed the Future has been an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Administrator Shah. “In just the last few years, together we’ve been able to turn the tide against hunger. We now know that to end hunger effectively, we must work from farm to market to table. With science, innovation, business and a willingness to tackle difficult challenges, we’re confident we can be successful and make ending hunger the defining story of our international work over the next several decades.”
Through Feed the Future, several new efforts to support inclusive agriculture-led economic growth are underway:
Scaling Up Our Impact
Through Feed the Future, the U.S. Government is working to scale up proven technologies to increase production and incomes for smallholder farmers. Over the past six months, USAID has awarded five new grants, totaling $18.3 million, focused on research that increases the climate resilience of rice, wheat, maize and millet – some of the most important crops needed to feed the world. These awards are accelerating global plant breeding activities by leveraging the expertise and investment of partners from the U.S. and global private sector, universities and developing country research institutions. USAID's investment will be matched and exceeded by an additional $31 million from other funding agencies, foundations, private companies and universities.
As part of Feed the Future, USAID is also investing an additional $15 million this year to establish a set of new Feed the Future Innovation Labs, five-year programs led by U.S. universities that will link agricultural productivity with climate resilience, improved nutrition and sustainable intensification though research on soy, small-scale irrigation, and global food security policy. Other important new efforts will focus on post-harvest losses, livestock vaccine development and genomics.
To help ensure that useful technologies reach the farmers who need them most, USAID has worked with partners to identify a number of off-the-shelf, tested, high-impact technologies that hold the potential to transform food security, livelihoods and nutrition around the world. Today Dr. Shah announced that the “Scalable Technologies Inventory” is being made available for the first time at http://feedthefuture.gov/article/scalable-agricultural-technologies-inventory and invited partners’ comments and additional contributions.
Also announced today were two new awards to help technologies reach smallholder farmers. “Last fall, we launched the Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program, which is dedicated to identifying technologies that could quickly be scaled up to reach millions of smallholder farmers,” said Dr. Shah. “Today, I am pleased to announce two of these grant awards. The first will enable the World Cocoa Foundation to deliver tailored advice on pest management and fertilization to 15,000 smallholder cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire. The second grant will be awarded to Driptech, an American startup company, to support the commercialization of its newly developed drip irrigation kit-in-a-box. The kit offers smallholder farmers in India an affordable, simple-to-use system that provides water for crops, and has been shown to improve yields by 50% and save up to 80% in labor costs.”
At the Grow Africa Investment Forum in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this month, USAID, along with the African Development Bank and the Government of Sweden, launched the Agriculture Fast Track, a $25 million, first-of-its kind fund that will spur greater private investment in agriculture infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. A commitment under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – announced by President Obama at last year’s Chicago Council symposium – this fund will help strengthen the crucial links from farmers to markets to tables.
Together with its many partners, the Feed the Future initiative continues to make significant progress in charting a new way forward in food security that leverages the strengths and resources of the entire global community.
About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increases incomes and reduces hunger, poverty and undernutrition. More information: www.feedthefuture.gov
This press release originally appeared on the USAID website.
As USAID Administrator Shah announced in his December 7, 2012, speech at the International Food Policy Research Institute, Feed the Future is deepening engagement with U.S. Government bilateral missions, country partners, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Feed the Future Innovation Laboratories, and other research and development organizations around expanded efforts to drive widespread adaptation, dissemination and adoption of critical agricultural technologies in Feed the Future countries and beyond.
USAID and USDA staff and research partners in the CGIAR and Innovation Labs have contributed to the technology inventory, housed on Agrilinks.org, in seven thematic tables linked to below. This inventory is intended to provide U.S. Government staff and collaborating partners with a technical evidence base as they work to scale up appropriate technologies to greater numbers of smallholder farmers.
While the list primarily describes component technologies, it is very important to recognize that most were developed and/or will be taken up within a systems context. For example, while we are seeking to introduce or enhance the role of legumes in cereal-based systems, and the table emphasizes the yield gains of the legume varieties themselves, we note that such component technologies have broader impacts for total system productivity, nutrition and sustainability.
This inventory is very much a work in progress. It was developed by the USAID Bureau for Food Security and USDA, with the input of research partners, to provide examples of technologies that may be good candidates for widespread adaptation and adoption, but it is not intended to be comprehensive. It does not represent an "approved" or exclusive list, and inclusion or exclusion in this inventory is not intended to be taken as a statement of policy. Nothing here is meant to imply endorsement of any product or company or of the suitability of any given technology in any given context. Feedback and technical contributions are welcomed via the Agrilinks comment facility.
Technology Inventory Tables:
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Syngenta International AG to support agriculture and food security activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Under this MOU, USAID and Syngenta will further collaborate in research and development and smallholder capacity building, working with key agriculture and food security partners including scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and other donors. Syngenta and USAID already work together in many countries and will broaden their relationship through this MOU.
This commitment advances agricultural development and food security goals set by developing country governments and supported by USAID through the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, which is part of the U.S. contribution to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
As announced in May 2012, Syngenta has committed to invest over $500 million over 10 years in Africa. Under the MOU, Syngenta and USAID together will build the capacity of smallholder farmers to adopt and safely use technologies that increase their yields through training, demonstrations and other approaches. With USAID, Syngenta will work in specific New Alliance countries and explore ways to increase growers’ use of technologies in crops such as potatoes and will expand smallholder access to tools such as crop insurance and seed treatment.
“Every night, nearly 870 million people in the world go to bed hungry,” said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. ”Scaling the adoption of innovative technologies like drought-tolerant seeds and crop insurance can build the foundation for sustainable food security. By strengthening our partnership with Syngenta, we can reduce hunger and undernutrition across three different continents and help bring the end of extreme poverty within reach.”
”Our collaboration with USAID is part of our ambition to enable a worldwide step-change in farm productivity,” said Mike Mack, Chief Executive Officer, Syngenta. “Public private partnerships such as this, drawing on the strengths of each party, will be catalysts for transforming agriculture by improving knowledge and technology in farming especially in developing markets.”
Announced by President Obama at the 2012 G-8 Summit, the New Alliance is a shared commitment between African governments, G-8 members and the private sector to work together to accelerate investments in agriculture to improve productivity, livelihoods and food security for smallholder farmers. Feed the Future is the United States’ contribution to this global effort. Feed the Future supports countries in developing their own agriculture sectors to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade, particularly for smallholder farmers, many of whom are women.
Last year, the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative helped more than 7 million food producers adopt improved technologies or management practices that can lead to more resilient crops, higher yields, and increased incomes. The initiative, led by USAID, also reached nearly 12 million children last year through nutrition programs, which can prevent and treat undernutrition and improve child survival. To learn more about Feed the Future, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.
Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies with more than 27,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. For more information about us please go to www.syngenta.com.
This press release originally appeared on the USAID website.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA—Today, Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB); and Gunilla Carlsson, the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, announced the creation of the Agriculture Fast Track, a $25 million dollar first-of-its-kind fund that will spur greater private investment in agriculture infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Announced at Grow Africa’s Investment Forum, the Agriculture Fast Track will spur agriculture infrastructure development in countries that are members of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, strengthening the links from farmers to markets to tables. Supporting up to $1.5 million per project, the Agriculture Fast Track will finance upstream work of project design, including feasibility studies, market analyses, site surveys, business plans, financial modeling and other activities necessary to ensure project quality and bankability. These project preparation grants will ultimately facilitate access to more funding for agriculture infrastructure because banks and other investors require this documentation to issue commercial loans.
The Agriculture Fast Track was developed with the support of USAID, which has committed $15 million and the Government of Sweden, which pledged $10 million. The fund will be managed by the African Development Bank.
“The African economy is currently overly dependent on public investment for infrastructure development,” said Kaberuka. “The Agriculture Fast Track is a critical tool to better leverage donor funding to catalyze private sector investment in support of infrastructure construction and Africa’s long-term economic growth and food security.”
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was launched by President Obama at last year’s G-8 summit and includes six member countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The New Alliance matches market-oriented regulatory reforms in these six countries with $3.7 billion in commitments from the private sector in agriculture.
“Since the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was founded last year, we’ve seen member countries make serious reforms that have led to real progress,” said Shah. “The launch of the Agriculture Fast Track allows African farmers to take advantage of these reforms through fast-tracked infrastructure projects that will better deliver their products to markets.“
“By targeting the project preparation stage of projects, the Agriculture Fast Track will advance infrastructure projects when funding is most acutely needed to pivot from planning to construction,” said Carlsson. “This targeted approach allows us to catalyze significantly more private sector investments and ensure the highest standards in terms of social and environmental sustainability.”
This press release originally appeared on the USAID website.
Washington, D.C.—Yesterday, at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the release of exciting new datasets and tools that increase transparency and provide the fuel for innovators and decision makers to solve problems.
The conference, hosted by the United States Government, convened countries from the G-8 and New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to discuss the potential of open data for agriculture and develop action plans to open and apply food security relevant datasets. To demonstrate the power of open data to deliver solutions, the conference also featured technologists and entrepreneurs who use USAID and U.S Government data to develop products to bring real solutions to the developing world.
Global development is one of the six focus areas of the Open Data Initiatives projects developed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. The Open Data Initiatives focus on liberating government data and voluntarily contributed corporate data to fuel entrepreneurship, create jobs, and improve lives. This is also part of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, and the announcements yesterday are representative of how government agencies are exploring the ways that citizens can benefit from the increased availability and application of public information.
At the conference, Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer offered, “big kudos to everyone attending the G8 Open Data for Agriculture conference who has committed to making their troves of data open and available to the public. By liberating data from the vaults of government and the private sector, we can accelerate the use of open agriculture and nutrition data to advance global food security while also fueling the growth of new businesses and jobs."
USAID made the following announcements at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture:
- New pathway to engage the tech and developer communities and fuel entrepreneurship
USAID announced the launch of www.usaid.gov/developer, a website with tools specific to technologists and developers which will serve as a resource for major USAID data sets and a central location for Agency APIs (Application Program Interface)
- Making U.S. Government assistance data more accessible than ever before
USAID has developed an API for the Greenbook dataset that covers all U.S. Government foreign assistance financial data since the Marshall Plan. We hope that this will spark developers to utilize this information in new and innovative ways
- Release of the first two major surveys for Feed the Future
USAID announced the release of two large and robust baseline household surveys related to poverty, nutrition, and food security forGhana and Bangladesh. This is part of USAID’s contribution to Feed the Future, the United States Government's global hunger and food security initiative. These datasets provide information for policymakers, researchers, NGOs, corporations, and startups and individuals to understand the context of poverty and hunger in a country, make better decisions to improve food security, and track progress
The G8 Conference also featured three USAID related projects that are showing real impact in food insecure countries.
- MFarm: M-Farm’s mobile application allows farmers to receive accurate, real-time crop price information from five major markets in Kenya via text message daily, six days a week. This service allows farmers to make informed decisions on what to plant when, how to price produce, and where to sell to make the largest profit.
- Toto Agriculture: A smartphone interface for village specific agricultural data. Users can use this free app to access localized information on soil, pests, climate, and planting tips in over 100 languages.
- Digital Green: Digital Green trains rural communities in four countries to produce freely accessible videos that are by farmers, of farmers, and for farmers to exchange agricultural practices that can boost their productivity.
These announcements and projects are a major step forward in USAID’s efforts to make information and data public and online in accessible and shareable formats, and build on the work done by many at USAID to make development transparent, effective, and accountable, and spur entrepreneurial growth in the developing world.
For more information about USAID and its work in inclusive development, please visit http://www.usaid.gov.
For more information about Feed the Future please visit: http://www.feedthefuture.gov/
For more information about USAID’s Open Data Initiative and previous events, please visit: http://blog.usaid.gov/2013/01/at-datajam-innovators-and-entrepreneurs-unleash-open-data-for-global-development/
For more information about the G-8 Conference on Open Data and Agriculture, please visit:https://sites.google.com/site/g8opendataconference/home