USAID releases new Feed the Future paper as donors make pledges at AGRA conference | TSLN.com

USAID releases new Feed the Future paper as donors make pledges at AGRA conference

At the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) forum in Nairobi on Wednesday, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Gayle Smith released a new paper that discusses the U.S. "vision for how the world can come together to achieve the sustainable development goals, particularly the targets on poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and that calls upon the global development community to mobilize the resources and partnerships required for success."

The paper "calls for developing country governments to lead by mobilizing the resources, partnerships, and policies that are required for success; donors to renew and expand their resources; private sector to deepen their engagement and investment; and civil society to utilize their collective voice and support to help translate commitments into action," according to a USAID news release.

Smith also signed a signed a memorandum of understanding with AGRA for the U.S. government and AGRA to "work together in a range of areas relevant to achieving food security in Africa, such as local and regional policy, agricultural market development, and improved seed systems," USAID said.

Smith told the conference that the recently enacted Global Food Security Act "is the largest development authorization the U.S. Congress has made in a decade" and "ensures these efforts will continue into the future. Today, we are thrilled to build on our longstanding commitment with our global vision for a food-secure 2030."

AGRA, in a news release, also noted it has a launched a "Seize the Moment" campaign backed by the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), key nongovernmental organizations, companies and donor countries.

"The goal: a new era of business opportunities for the 70 percent of the African population that depend on farming for food and income, yet too often face poverty and poor nutrition," AGRA said.

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AGRA announced that in addition to USAID's long term commitment, the following commitments (all amounts in U.S. dollars) have been made to the campaign:

▪ $200 million from the government of Kenya so at least 150,000 young farmers and young agriculture entrepreneurs can gain access to markets, finance, and insurance.

▪ $24 billion from AfDB over the next 10 years, a 400 percent increase over previous commitments, to help drive agricultural transformation in Africa. AfDB President Akin Adesina said the money will scale up agriculture technologies for millions of farmers and also accelerate access to commercial financing, buttressed by proven approaches to reducing risks of commercial lending to smallholder farmers and other agriculture businesses.

▪ At least $1 billion from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for African agricultural development over the next five years, and a total of $5 billion for African development. The Gates Foundation money will be used to expand crop and livestock research, strengthen data for decision-making, and improve systems to deliver better tools, information and innovations to farmers.

▪ $180 million in additional commitments from The Rockefeller Foundation, including $50 million beyond the $105 million already invested in AGRA and its partners over the last 10 years. In addition, the Rockefeller Foundation is providing US $130 million for its Yieldwise initiative, work directed by AGRA and other partners that is deploying better storage, handling and processing capabilities to reduce the significant post-harvest losses on African farms due to spoilage or pests.

▪ $350 million from Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB) to finance agriculture business opportunities that could reach some 2 million smallholder farmers, which is 5 percent of the bank's overall lending portfolio. $200 million will go toward improving market infrastructure and mobilizing farmers and $150 million through the KCB Foundation will support livestock farmers. KCB will also work with the MasterCard Foundation, contributing $30 million each year to helping smallholder farmers access credit and market information via mobile devices.

▪ A commitment by the World Food Program (WFP) to purchasing at least $120 million of its agricultural products each year from smallholder farmers through a partnership called the Patient Procurement Platform. That amount represents 10 percent of WFP's annual procurement budget.

▪ $150 million over the next five years from OCP Africa to support local fertilizer distribution, storage and blending in Africa. Tark Choho, managing director of the OCP Group and chief executive officer of OCP Africa, said OCP also will focus on building fertilizer plants in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa and is in discussions with five countries. This investment is expected to significantly increase access to fertilizers for Africa's smallholder farmers and is projected to cost $1 billion.

▪ More than $3 billion to African agriculture over the next six years from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in keeping with its policy of spending at least 50 percent of its annual $1.1 billion in Africa. IFAD's investments focus on intensive efforts to generate jobs in farming and food production, particularly for African youth and African women.

AGRA plans to invest $500 million over five years to help agricultural companies and governments on the continent produce seeds, but says that Africa needs $400 billion in agricultural investment, Bloomberg said in separate stories from the meeting.

–The Hagstrom Report

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