Developing strategies to end hunger
 

World Food Prize 2012: USAID Launches Progress Report on Feed the Future

The Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium took place in Des Moines, IA, October 17-19. Each year, the symposium brings together leaders from around the world to discuss cutting-edge food security issues. At a keynote address during the weeklong World Food Prize events, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah released the first Feed the Future progress report, entitled Boosting Harvests, Fighting Poverty. Along with the report, Dr. Shah also released a scorecard for Feed the Future, the Obama administration's global hunger and food security initiative. Established after renewed international commitments to global agriculture made at the 2009 G-8 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 low-income countries. The scorecard, on the other hand, tracks how the U.S government is changing its development and engagement process to more effectively meet its development goals. According to the report, so far Feed the Future has helped 1.8 million food producers adopt improved technologies or management practices that can lead to more resilient crops, higher yields, and increased incomes. Additionally, the initiative has also reached nearly 9 million children through nutrition programs, which can prevent and treat undernutrition and improve child survival.

In his address at the World Food Prize ceremony, Shah said, “We have built some remarkable momentum since President Obama helped rally the world behind the need to dramatically reinvest in agriculture at the 2009 G-8 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.” He added, “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.”

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Building on the successes highlighted in the report, Shah also talked about several new USAID efforts to support inclusive agriculture-led economic growth under Feed the Future.

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 nonprofit Partners in Food Solutions that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees at three 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 help African food processors improve their ability to produce high-quality, nutritious, and safe food at affordable prices.

Shah also announced that USAID’s Development Credit Authority will support two new lending facilities to help smallholder farmer organizations in Africa. In 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 private local financing.

In addition to these existing initiatives, 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. The credit enhancement will allow Root Capital, operating throughout Africa, to disburse more than $50 million in loans, reaching more than 1 million small-scale farmers, over the next five years. The loans will be targeted to small agribusinesses to help improve yields, reduce post-harvest losses, and process nutritious foods for local markets.

 

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