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Impact of Resource Pressures, Energy, and Technology on Food Security Highlighted at USAID’s Frontiers in Development Conference

USAID held its inaugural Frontiers in Development Forum on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, DC from June 11-13.

The three-day event featured a series of panel discussions with development policymakers, academics, and practitioners, as well as shorter “DevTalks” that highlighted innovations in a wide range of development projects. Numerous current and former heads of state were in attendance, including Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; and John Kufuor, Former President of Ghana.

On the second day of the conference, two panels focused on food security and the natural resource pressures that will increasingly shape the development landscape. USAID Assistant to the Administrator Paul Weisenfeld joined the Honorable Mary Robinson and Oxford University’s Paul Collier for a discussion on how to sustainably increase agricultural production to meet the food needs of a growing global population while dealing with the effects of climate change and increasing demand for land, water, and other natural resources.

That afternoon, USAID also announced a series of joint efforts to dramatically improve development interventions, including two initiatives that will contribute to improved food security in some Feed the Future focus countries. A new partnership between USAID, Vodafone, and TechnoServe will increase the productivity, incomes, and resilience of smallholder farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The Connected Farmer Alliance will leverage mobile phone-enhanced solutions to improve supply chain efficiency and increase farmers’ ability to access secure, timely payments and other financial services.  

USAID also launched Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development, a program designed to link renewable energy technologies with farmers and agribusinesses in low-income countries. In partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Duke Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the African Development Bank, USAID will work to address problems in the agriculture sector that stem from limited access in developing countries to modern energy services.

Missed Frontiers in Development? Catch up on what happened on USAID’s Storify.

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