USAID

November 1, 2013

In rural Liberia, information typically moves through verbal communication. People living in rural areas do not usually write letters, read the newspaper, or watch television due to high illiteracy and lack of infrastructure. As a result, community radio stations are quickly becoming the simplest way to relay information to isolated communities.

There are over 40 community radio stations throughout the country, some of which broadcast to as many as 200,000 people. Since the Liberian conflict ended in 2003, donor support has increased the capacity and financial sustainability of the major rural community radio stations and created an opportunity to deliver important messages via the airwaves.

In today’s Liberia, the agriculture sector represents over 60 percent of the nation’s GDP, however there are only 130 registered agribusinesses, a mere two percent of all registered businesses.

Improved radio stations have created the perfect medium to reach rural listeners with agriculture and community development messages. In 2013, the USAID Food and Enterprise Development Program began harnessing both the medium and the message to help smallholder farmers. The program is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

As part of its mandate to strengthen the agriculture extension delivery system, USAID has worked with 27 community radio journalists from 14 radio stations to promote the farming sector, agribusiness, and increase communication among radio listeners. The USAID program provided journalists with training to reach a larger audience involved with agriculture through community radio platforms.

“We can’t rely on these radio stations to replace agriculture extension delivery, but they play a major role in notifying farmers about program information as well as best practices,” explains Doe Adovor, USAID Food and Enterprise Development Extension Specialist.

‘Soil, the Bank’ Debuts on KR 94.5

Chester Dolo, 26, never set out to become a journalist. In fact, he is studying business management at the Liberian International Business College in Ganta, Northern Liberia. But he has kept his day job at the Kergheamahan Radio station because jobs aren’t easy to come by in his hometown.

After graduating from high school in 2007, Chester quickly rose through the ranks of the community radio station. He started as a broadcaster, moved to senior reporter, then to program manager, and finally to station manager. Chester has made a name for himself on the Ganta radio station and it has much to do with his reading and speaking skills.

“My father’s a reverend and he made me read scriptures at church every Sunday because I could read out loud,” he explains.

KR 94.5—as it is known—gives the people of Ganta and the surrounding areas plenty of talk radio, especially politics, culture, and the weekend’s football results. The community station was born in 2004 after the Liberian conflict but never broadcasted news and information about agriculture, the main livelihood of the majority of the listeners. Now, Chester is changing the radio’s programming.

A USAID training event emphasized agriculture issues and allowed journalists to work in groups and demonstrate their skills and creativity to create their first agriculture-based program. When the 10-day training ended, journalists returned to their radio stations armed with a new outlook on the role of agriculture and agribusiness in community radio.

“Prior to that [training], we didn’t think much about farmers as listeners. The radio is one way to make them see farming as a business and not just survival. We can share a lot of useful information,” Chester explains. “Liberians spend $200 million every year on importing rice. We journalists can create awareness towards growing our own rice for consumption.”

Every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and Friday morning at 9 a.m. the people in and around Ganta tune in to “Soil, the Bank”. The 30 minute program takes listeners to the farms in Nimba County to learn about the challenges and problems of farming in Liberia. Listeners hear interviews with farmers as well as USAID experts on rice, cassava, vegetable farming and animal husbandry. The program also involves agribusiness owners like fertilizer and pesticide suppliers to provide listeners a chance to ask questions. Experts also share ideas on finding markets for the region’s produce.

“A lot of farmers talk about being cheated by wholesalers. Now new buyers who want to find farmers and good produce can use the community radio to transmit their messages,” Chester explains.

After its first month on the air, “Soil, the Bank” is slowly gaining recognition. And as farmers and farm suppliers become more aware of the program, the radio station expects to sell more advertisements. Chester doesn’t plan to run the radio station his entire life, but if agriculture-focused radio can become successful, journalism might one day become a well-paid job.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog. Learn more about Feed the Future in Liberia.

October 30, 2013

Washington, DC—Today, during a speech at The George Washington University’s Feeding the Planet Summit, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced 10 new Feed the Future Innovation Labs to increase global food security and help smallholder farmers boost incomes and improve nutrition.

These Innovation Labs draw on the expertise of top U.S. universities and developing country research institutions, and will tackle some of the world’s most challenging agricultural research problems. The U.S. university-led Innovation Labs are central to advancing novel solutions in support of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

“Throughout history, our greatest development advances have come from introducing safe, proven and appropriate technologies to the world's most vulnerable people,” said Dr. Shah. “Building upon a strong history of research collaboration, these new Feed the Future Innovation Labs will draw on the very best research, extension and education strengths of the U.S. and global university community to improve nutrition, end hunger, and help eradicate extreme poverty around the world.”

The new labs are part of the Feed the Future Food Security Innovation Center, launched in 2012 to support innovative research aimed at transforming agricultural production systems through “sustainable intensification”—or producing more food in an environmentally sensitive manner—ensuring access to nutritious and safe foods, creating enabling and supportive policies, and addressing the emerging challenges of climate change and natural resource scarcity. The newest additions include:

  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Beans, led by Pennsylvania State University
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Cowpea, led by the University of California at Riverside
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Sorghum, led by the University of Georgia
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for  Applied Wheat Genomics, led by Kansas State University
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Rift Valley Fever Control in Agriculture, led by the University of Texas at El Paso
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry, led by the University of California at Davis
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-scale Irrigation, led by Texas A&M University
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Chickpea (lead university to be awarded)
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soy Value Chain Research (lead university to be awarded)
  • The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Reduced Post-harvest Losses (lead university to be awarded)

These new research labs join the recently announced Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum & Millet led by Kansas State University and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy led by Michigan State University, as well as a number of other Innovation Labs representing the breadth and diversity of U.S. university agricultural research programs. A full list of the Feed the Future Innovation Labs can be found here.

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 undernutrition. More information: www.feedthefuture.gov

This press release originally appeared on the USAID website. 

October 29, 2013

As part of USAID’s 52nd birthday celebration, we highlight a Feed the Future partnership that is helping to improve nutrition in Ethiopia. 

Ethiopia has the highest cattle population in Africa, at 52 million, including 10.5 million dairy cattle.

In 2011-2012, Ethiopia produced 3.3 billion liters of milk but only about five percent of it was sold in commercial markets. Despite an active dairy sector, individual consumption of milk in Ethiopia is only 19 liters per year and child undernutrition rates are among the highest in the world.

About an hour and half drive outside of Addis Ababa, Project Mercy, a faith-based relief and development organization, owns a 350-acre dairy farm in Cha Cha, Amhara Regional State. Through its Dairy Cattle Breeding Program, Project Mercy has a vision to help improve the nutritional status of men, women and children and generate new incomes by cross breeding Ethiopian indigenous cattle with the local British Jersey breed.

Currently, Ethiopian indigenous cattle only produce one to two quarts of milk per day, which is not enough for the typical Ethiopian family of eight. As a result, the majority of children in Ethiopia do not consume milk, leading to malnourishment and other complications such as stunted growth.

As part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the USAID Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development project is partnering with Project Mercy to help the organization achieve its vision.

Through this partnership, the project is providing technical assistance to beneficiaries before and after the dairy cows are transferred to local families. Technical assistance includes activities such as developing a farm management plan, hosting training sessions and improving animal feed production. All of these ensure that the crossbreed will achieve its highest levels of production and will increase milk production up to 12 quarts per day. In addition, the project is linking targeted households to new markets where families will be able to sell their milk products.

This project contributes to the goals of Feed the Future, which works to reduce poverty, hunger and undernutrition in 19 focus countries around the world. USAID is the lead agency for this whole-of-government initiative.

Watch the short video below to learn more about this partnership.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog.

October 17, 2013

Soon after I arrived in Cambodia, I made a trip to see a few of the activities that USAID supports to improve the lives of rural Cambodians. Agriculture—especially rice—is of huge importance to Cambodia and I was able to see how our support is helping farmers become more successful by introducing new techniques. I also saw how our funds are improving Cambodian children’s education by strengthening school facilities and increasing their knowledge about nutrition.

Not far from Cambodia’s most famous landmark, Angkor Wat, farmers in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom provinces are learning about better, more efficient ways to raise fish and grow crops and vegetables. In addition to the training and supplies they receive through our food security program, USAID HARVEST, rural families are also eating better as a result of the nutritional information provided by HARVEST’s trainers.

The bottom line is that their production is allowing farmers to earn more income and provide their families with a more diverse and nutritional food basket. Greg Beck, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Asia Bureau, saw this when he enjoyed personal interaction with one such farmer during his visit this year. Read about his reflections on his Cambodia visit here.

Nutrition is a very important priority for me and my team, as it continues to be one of Cambodia’s main development challenges.

Studies show that too many Cambodians suffer from malnutrition. That’s why USAID’s program (Improving Basic Education in Cambodia) not only focuses on the classroom, but in the vegetable garden, too. In addition to providing computer labs, the project also teaches students about nutrition, water and sanitation by teaching them to install and maintain a vegetable garden. They also learn about the importance of protein and how important fish is to their protein requirements. These valuable nutritional resources will help school children eat right, grow strong and eventually join Cambodia’s growing workforce.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog. USAID HARVEST is part of the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative.

August 20, 2013

In the world’s newest nation of South Sudan, the legacy of four decades of civil war continues to challenge efforts to gather reliable current statistics on health, education, the economy and other factors. USAID and other development partners are seeking to help the South Sudanese people build a robust and resilient economy.

Key to that effort is modernizing and expanding the agriculture sector.

Because decades of war often forced people from their land, South Sudan as a whole lost much of its agricultural knowledge base. As a result, most of South Sudan’s food is imported, despite significant arable land, plentiful water and good quality soil.

In spite of the challenges, most South Sudanese are still involved in agriculture, typically as subsistence farmers producing crops such as maize, sorghum, cassava and groundnuts. Production levels are low, however, and even farmers in the most fertile region—the “Greenbelt” that crosses the three Equatoria states—are affected by a number of adverse conditions, including poor quality seeds, deficient farming equipment, lack of roads to get their goods to market and post-harvest losses due to inadequate or nonexistent storage.

To examine the effects of USAID’s assistance in South Sudan’s agriculture sector since 2012, a USAID team led by economist Paul Pleva recently completed a cost-benefit analysis of the $26 million in USAID funds currently being spent annually in South Sudan in support of the Feed the Future initiative

Part of the analysis examined two different techniques for improving crop yields, both being promoted under USAID’s Food, Agribusiness and Rural Markets (FARM) project. Begun in 2010, the FARM project seeks to boost agricultural growth through improved inputs, strengthen market linkages, improve the conditions for private sector investment and improve infrastructure to facilitate trade.

Pleva analyzed the two techniques being implemented through the FARM project to improve crop yields. One technique required relatively expensive farming inputs, but promised potentially dramatic yield increases.  A second technique focused on more simple improvements such as improved seeds, proper weeding and seed row spacing for more modest yield increases. 

The team observed actual outcomes produced by the two techniques and considered the sustainability of each.

Pleva led a collaborative effort to collect data from multiple sources, identify inconsistencies and compare the quality of those sources. He used inexpensive technologies such as Google Apps to ensure that USAID implementing partners around the world could provide input.

After comparing the results, the USAID team found that of the two interventions, the cheaper technique of improving farming yields resulted in greater profitability for South Sudanese farmers and provided a much better chance of sustainability after the project ends. The evidence for this finding was significant and, as a result, USAID turned the focus of the project toward the cheaper and more sustainable intervention.

Small sums can generate big returns—in this case for both farmers and USAID. USAID made a modest investment of resources—the staff time of a small team—to conduct the cost-benefit analysis, and in doing so, increased the development impact of taxpayer dollars significantly.

Farmers in South Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, stand to benefit economically from the findings of this analysis—a potential path out of poverty.

By using economic analysis to prove that simple techniques can best assist South Sudan’s farmers, USAID had avoided an all too common trap in development—unsustainable projects that fall apart when donors conclude a project or cease assistance to a sector or country.

Lessons like this one not only save money in the short-term, but by helping people to increase their household income and food security they also decrease the likelihood that emergency funds will be needed to help these communities in the future.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog. 

August 9, 2013

Working with USAID over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to see tremendous growth and change in many countries, and that impact has been particularly felt in Cambodia as part of Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Feed the Future supports countries in developing their own agriculture sectors to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade that help reduce poverty and hunger. Agriculture sector growth has proven to be an effective way of reducing poverty, and Feed the Future’s efforts contribute significantly to President Obama’s goal of ending extreme poverty within two decades.

The initiative works with families that rely on agriculture for their livelihood, helping them grow more food, raise their incomes, improve their nutrition, and learn farming techniques that enable sustainable income and production for generations.

During my most recent visit to Cambodia, I was able to see these changes taking place first-hand.

I visited 62-year-old Mrs. Koy Muot, who, through techniques learned via Feed the Future, was able to increase her vegetable production and sell a portion of that as a result. Her income doubled from one short growing season, illustrating the important felt impact this program is having. Even more compelling was her newfound ability to reinvest in her family by purchasing school books and clothes for her grandson and more seeds for her garden next season.

Mrs. Muot was able to make these changes through Feed the Future’s HARVEST program, which helps Cambodians improve on all aspects of food security, from production and access to nutrition in the country while also helping farmers adapt their production techniques to make them more resilient to climate change.

She learned about drip irrigation, water use and pest management in classes. She was provided with basic equipment and supplies she would need to implement her newly learned farming practices in exchange for her time, land and labor. She allowed her land to be used as the demonstration plot, with a garden on one side using traditional techniques and on the other side, a garden using HARVEST techniques.

I have to say, the difference between the two plots was remarkable. The HARVEST side showed a lush garden full of mouth-watering vegetables, while on the other side sat a choked patch of land struggling to survive.

With her newly learned agriculture skills, Mrs. Muot was able to more than double her income, from $30 a year to $66. Now, every year, she can sell as much as 485 lbs (220 kg) of amaranth, morning glory and long-bean, and keep 100 pounds (45 kg) for her and her family to enjoy.

“After I joined the program, I learned new techniques to grow vegetables. The production now is much better than the traditional way. I consume some and sell the rest. Now I can support my children and grandchildren,” said Koy.

The Feed the Future HARVEST program works in four provinces around the Tonle Sap Lake, Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap and Kampong Thom areas of Cambodia with some of the highest rates of poor and food insecure families but some of the best opportunities to address these issues through improved agricultural practices. Together with the help of 22 Cambodian NGOs, USAID has worked with and assisted over 47,000 households and beneficiaries including 102 schools and health centers in more than 461 villages.

I’m proud of the hard work that my colleagues at USAID in Cambodia have done with our partners there to make Mrs. Muot’s life better—and those of generations that follow her.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog.


Additional Resources

August 9, 2013
Kate Gage, USAIDSalif and Mohamed Niang (far left) join fellow marketplace participants in speaking with President Obama in Senegal.

In 1977, our father earned a USAID scholarship to leave Mali and pursue graduate studies at Purdue University. As one of the first Africans to benefit from an effort to identify and train the next generation of agriculture experts, he earned his doctorate and went on to work for the United Nations for the next three decades as a food security and sustainable development expert.

In the 1980s, he was stationed to work in Ethiopia during the height of the famine, which made a lasting impression on our family. Almost four decades later, USAID brought us together with President Obama to share our idea for transforming the rice industry and combating farmer poverty and malnutrition in Mali.

Taking part in Feed the Future’s Agricultural Technology Marketplace during President Obama’s visit to Senegal was a great honor for us. The struggle against food insecurity and malnutrition forms a fundamental part of our identity due to our father’s work and our experiences growing up in Ethiopia and Mali. We are acutely aware of how fortunate we are. Our father—the only child in a family of 14 to finish high school—instilled a deep sense of obligation in us from a very young age.

And about four years ago, while still in college in the United States, that sense of obligation turned into action.

spike in rice prices in 2008 captured our attention. We were angered to witness how the increase in prices led to even greater food insecurity in Mali. We committed ourselves to tackling food shortages and malnutrition in Mali, in part by producing a locally grown vitamin-fortified rice.

We had almost no knowledge of the rice plant, rice production or rice processing, so we had to a lot of homework. We searched online for studies by USAID, picked the brains of professors, emailed our business model and financial projections to seasoned entrepreneurs to deconstruct, and video chatted with technology providers in Argentina and China to put together a business plan that won over $130,000 in prize money and awards. With these funds, we returned to Mali in 2011 to conduct a pilot study that culminated in the marketing of locally-produced fortified rice in Africa for the first time, selling 10 tons despite the new entry of this product into local markets.

Today, we are the founders of Malô, a Malian social enterprise that produces high quality, fortified rice to address the twin problems of farmer poverty and malnutrition. We work in partnership with a 30,000-member farmer cooperative in Mali’s biggest rice producing zone.

Our first processing and fortification facility, with the capacity to meet the needs of more than 25,000 people per year, will be up and running by the end of 2013. And plans for a processing center to feed a million people a year are back on track after a period of political uncertainty. Next year we will begin production of fortified rice kernels in Mali so other rice millers in West Africa can offer affordable fortified rice to their customers.

In our brief chat with President Obama, we were impressed by his desire to understand the details of Malô’s business model as well as what it meant for farmers and consumers. Hearing him articulate his philosophy for achieving food security, in person, was powerful. He stressed that economic growth as a result of improved performance in the agriculture sector was most effective in reducing poverty. He also said that food aid was no longer sufficient and that by leveraging investments by companies, the impact will be deeper and broader. And finally, he argued that bolstering African agriculture should not be seen as a burden or waste, but a remarkable opportunity for all.

After our experience in Senegal, we are convinced more than ever that helping nourish the future is our life’s calling. Together with our partners, we are excited about the promise of African farmers and consumers—and meeting their aspirations will be a fun and rewarding journey.

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog. It is part of a series of posts by marketplace participants who met Obama in June 2013. 


Additional Resources

July 22, 2013
Elijah Muremi, chairman of Majembeni Youth Bunge's Young Fathers Group, works at the group's maize farm in Kenya.

Residents of Majembeni, a small village in Mpeketoni, Lamu County have traditionally relied on small-scale farming for their incomes.

The youth, however, didn’t think they could make a living through farming and missed out on much-needed incomes as a result.

They looked down on farming as an activity for elderly people who just need to get by. With new attitudes and skills, this is no longer the case, especially for the Young Fathers Group from Majembeni Youth Bunge.

Three years ago, a group of young fathers found that income from the larger youth group activities was not enough to make their ends meet. “We had to feed our families, buy school uniforms, pay for school allowances above our personal needs. It was very difficult for us.” says Elijah Muremi, chairman of the Young Fathers Group.

The young fathers consulted with their bunge board members on how to meet their parental responsibilities. With support from USAID’s Yes Youth Can program, bunge members had previously received training on how to practice sustainable agriculture, and were well-positioned to teach and practice commercial farming. They helped the young fathers establish their own group to increase incomes.

Today, nearly three years later, the young fathers have improved their livelihoods and also transformed their community. The young men plant maize that they sell at both local markets and large-scale granaries. Their profits have enabled them open a tailoring business and also venture into tomato farming. The group also inspired women in their bunge who have started a young mothers group to practice commercial farming.

“We are a transformed community. The mindset among youth about farming has changed and the majority are now commercial farmers. Our children don’t miss school for lack of funds, and we enjoy a balanced meal every day since we are able to purchase other types foods,” says Elijah.

The Majembeni young fathers youth bunge is one of the 20,000 bunges nationally that is improving livelihoods of thousands of youth. USAID/Kenya’s Yes Youth Can program supports the empowerment of Kenyan youth as envisioned in the 2010 constitution. Young people organize themselves in youth-run and youth-led bunges (parliaments). The bunges provide a structure and a forum for young women and men to mobilize and take action to improve their own lives and those of their neighbors.

Watch the video here: http://bit.ly/15aR112

This article originally appeared on the USAID Mission Kenya website.

July 25, 2013

Washington, DC—Today, at the U.S. launch of the Feed the Future 2013 Progress Report, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced two new Feed the Future Innovation Labs to improve climate resilience in some of Africa’s main cereal crops and increase private sector investment that can help smallholder farmers.

The two new labs include the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum & Millet and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy. These Innovation Labs draw on the expertise of top universities around the country and represent a new model of development, using science and technology to address our greatest challenges in agriculture and food security.

“Today, as we celebrate Feed the Future’s success over the last year, I am pleased to launch two new Feed the Future Innovation Labs with U.S. universities and their partners,” said Dr. Shah. “The Feed the Future on Sorghum & Millet Innovation Lab reflects President Obama's and Feed the Future's strong focus on using science and technology to help smallholders meet the challenge of increasing cereal production even as climate change alters environmental conditions and reduces agricultural productivity. The Food Security Policy Innovation Lab builds directly on President Obama's leadership in launching the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition last year. It will help many more countries worldwide achieve major policy reforms, attract significant private sector investments, and increase economic opportunities for smallholder farmers, other rural people and urban consumers”

During the Capitol Hill event co-hosted by the Senate Hunger Caucus and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Dr. Shah announced the two new labs as part of the Feed the Future Food Security Innovation Center, which was launched in 2012 to address the greatest challenges to food security and nutrition.

The new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum & Millet will be led by Kansas State University and will produce innovations and technologies—such as climate-resilient varieties and new, more profitable market approaches for farmers—for use across sorghum and millet producing areas in Africa.

As part of the Innovation Lab, U.S. university researchers will collaborate with partner country scientists to address key constraints along the sorghum and pearl millet value chains, developing new technologies and innovations that can then be used by smallholder farmers on a larger scale to build productivity and sustainability. The research outputs will also improve resilience in dryland areas, where sorghum and pearl millet are critical to food security. The program will focus specifically in Senegal, Niger and Ethiopia.

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy, led by a consortium including Michigan State University, the International Food Policy Research Institute and the University of Pretoria, will help increase partner countries’ capacity to identify and implement improved food security policies that can help facilitate greater food security and nutrition.

This Innovation Lab will work with and support a wide range of governments, local think tanks, university researchers, private sector associations and civil society groups in building capacity and providing critical information to inform better food, agriculture and nutrition policies.

July 24, 2013

Q: How was Feed the Future born?

In 2009 at the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, President Obama addressed global leaders on the need to reverse the decades-long decline of agricultural investment and called on them to harness collaboration between donors, partner governments and civil society to strengthen global efforts to reduce poverty, hunger and undernutrition. Feed the Future is President Obama’s U.S. Government initiative and contribution to this global effort to advance food security and nutrition. Driven by the belief that global hunger is solvable, we’re seeing some great results from farms to markets to tables.

Q: What does success look like for Feed the Future?

Success equals results — the number of individuals who have access to better nutrition, the number of farmers who have benefitted from improved agricultural technologies, and the number of new partnerships that work collectively to improve food security, to name a few. We just released our FY2012 Feed the Future Progress Report and just looking at the numbers is pretty jaw-dropping when you think of the individuals whose lives have been directly impacted by the initiative.

In 2012, Feed the Future programs reached more than 9 million families; our nutrition programs reached more than 12 million children under five; we helped nearly 7.5 million farmers and other food producers adopt improved technologies or management practices (30 percent of whom were women); we helped boost the sales of agricultural products by more than $100 million, which, in turn, helped increase their incomes; we forged more than 660 public-private partnerships to improve food security from a community level to a global level; and increased the value of agricultural and rural loans overall by more than $150 million.

Q: What is Feed the Future’s approach for achieving success?

We know that meeting our Feed the Future objectives will only happen with true partnerships at every level. We use a combination of multiple approaches that involve collaboration among government partners, agricultural researchers, civil society and community members, the country’s own leadership, in-country and international companies, and other organizations that champion the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger around the world. When we implement Feed the Future programs, we want them to deliver cost-effective results, align with the focus country priorities, see opportunity in innovative partnerships, encourage private investment, and we want to ensure that our programs are deeply ingrained in the culture and business model of the country, so they are equipped to respond to food crises in the future.

A great example is Mercy Chitwanga’s story. Mercy is a dairy farmer in Malawi and Chairperson of the Chitsanzo Dairy Cooperative, a group of smallholder dairy farmers that was awarded a $95,000 Feed the Future grant through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) in 2011. She received capacity building training through the grant, and now is one of more than 1,000 female dairy farmers in Malawi who are increasing their earnings and accessing more nutritious food for their children with support from Feed the Future.

Q: What’s in Feed the Future’s future?

Reducing poverty and undernutrition through agricultural development remains our anchor. Despite the progress we’ve made already, there is still more to be done. Approximately 870 million people in the world remain hungry today (that’s one in eight people) and 98 percent of them live in developing countries. And the world’s population keeps increasing. It’s projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, requiring at least a 60 percent increase in global food production. So, we have a lot of work to do.

We will continue striving to make Feed the Future even more effective, to produce more results, and increase the impact and reach of U.S. food assistance to the places that need it most. We’ll also be working toward reducing the prevalence of stunted children under five years of age by 20 percent in the areas where we work. We’ve seen the transformative power of agricultural technologies and we’re looking forward to seeing how innovation will further change and improve the agricultural space, allowing even greater access to nutritious food for people everywhere.

Q: How can people get involved with Feed the Future?

There’s a social media campaign right now inviting our partners, the public, and anyone interested in the issues of hunger and poverty to respond to the question “How will you feed the future?” We welcome responses and ask participants to highlight why they’re involved in the fight against hunger and poverty, and offer suggestions on what others can do to help feed the future too. All ideas are welcome — a blog post, a video, a photo, etc.! You can follow and join the campaign on Facebook and Twitter too using the hashtag #feedthefuture. Visit the Feed the Future website for more information.

You can also visit the “Partner With Us” section of the Feed the Future website to view opportunities to get involved, whether you’re a university student, researcher, civil society organization, or private company.

Resources:

This post originally appeared on the USAID blog. Learn more about Feed the Future's progress on July 25. 

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