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USAID Administrator Shah Highlights U.S. Leadership in Food Security at Chicago Council Symposium

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 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 thatprovides water for crops, and has been shown to improve yields by 50% and save up to 80% in labor costs.”

Fast-tracking Success

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:  

This press release originally appeared on the USAID website.

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