Today, at a keynote address during the weeklong World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah released the first progress report and scorecard for Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative.
Established after renewed international commitments to global agriculture made at the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, Feed the Future supports countries in developing their own agriculture sectors in order to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade, which can support increased incomes, and help reduce hunger and undernutrition.
The progress report highlights how Feed the Future is already making a difference in people’s lives in the developing world and the scorecard tracks how well we are changing our development and engagement process to more effectively meet our goals. So far Feed the Future has helped 1.8 million food producers to adopt improved technologies or management practices that can lead to more resilient crops, higher yields, and increased incomes. The initiative has also reached nearly 9 million children through nutrition programs, which can prevent and treat undernutrition and improve child survival.
“We have built some remarkable momentum since President Obama helped rally the world behind the need to dramatically reinvest in agriculture at the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy. Through the President’s Feed the Future initiative, we are tackling the persistent problem of chronic hunger and malnutrition around the world,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah. “Already delivering meaningful results, this presidential initiative brings together the private sector, NGOs, women’s cooperatives, and local communities to support groundbreaking approaches to advance global food security.”
Building on the successes highlighted in the report, Dr. Shah also talked about several new efforts to support inclusive agriculture-led economic growth under Feed the Future. Together with its many partners, the initiative continues to make significant progress charting a new way forward in food security that leverages the strengths and resources of the entire global community.
Partnering with the Private Sector to Change Lives
Under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government will continue to support Solutions for African Food Enterprises, an alliance with the non-profit Partners in Food Solutions, which links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees at private companies General Mills, Cargill and DSM with small- and medium-sized mills and food processors in the developing world. Over the next five years, USAID, Partners in Food Solutions and implementing partner TechnoServe will work together to improve the ability of African food processors to produce high-quality, nutritious and safe food at affordable prices.
Dr. Shah also announced that USAID’s Development Credit Authority will support two new lending facilities to help smallholder farmer organizations in Africa. Through one, USAID will partially back private loans made to smallholder farmer organizations, including those with contracts from the World Food Programme-Purchase for Progress initiative. This means that qualifying smallholder farmer organizations can use their forward delivery and direct contracts to obtain local, private financing. The partner financial institutions see these contracts as a form of market risk mitigation, and are eager to test lending to farmers organizations that have contracts to deliver food to the World Food Programme.
USAID will also support a new lending facility for Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund, to make loans to small and growing agricultural businesses that are improving food security and nutrition throughout Africa. Over the next five years, the credit enhancement will allow Root Capital to disburse more than $50 million in loans, reaching more than one million small-scale farmers. Loans will be targeted to small agribusinesses to help improve yields, reduce post-harvest losses, and process nutritious foods for local markets.
Innovating for Impact
Feed the Future’s Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education program includes a consortium of U.S. universities led by Virginia Tech, along with Pennsylvania State University, Tuskegee University, and the University of Florida. The program will strengthen the capacity of the full range of institutions that focus on educating the next generation of agricultural professionals: universities, technical schools, vocational schools, secondary schools, and primary schools with agricultural course content. It will also facilitate productive long-term collaboration between U.S. universities and developing country institutions, in response to requests for assistance from countries and USAID Missions.
In addition, Feed the Future will support new public-private partnerships to advance climate-resistant cereals through the development of abiotic stress-tolerant millet for Africa and SouthAsia with UC Davis, a partnership with CIMMYT to strengthen heat stress-resilient maize for South Asia, and the development of heat tolerant wheat for South Asia with Arcadia Biosciences.
Feed the Future will also continue to be an active partner, along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development fellowship program. This program provided leadership and scientific skills training to over 250 women scientists from 11 African countries to date, and over 1,000 women have already applied for the 70 places in the next round of fellowships that will be announced in December.
This press release originally appeared on the USAID website.