NAIROBI, KENYA — AGRA, which supports farmers in Africa, has signed an agreement with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to collaborate on a range of projects to benefit Africa’s smallholder farmers.
The agreement includes coordinating research on seed, soil and water technologies; training to ensure farmers have the capacity to be effective producers; and enhancing each other’s existing programs and activities. They plan to promote the adoption, application, and uptake of science and technologies and enhance African farmers’ access to markets and participation in trade.
AGRA’s board chair, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, former prime minister of Ethiopia, said this is a significant partnership that aims to further improve smallholder farmers’ potential.
“USDA has a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector and together, we will further address the issues around food and agricultural systems that will enhance people’s livelihoods,” Dessalegn said. “Together we will respond to national and regional food security and trade priorities. I’m confident that our collaboration will accelerate employment, trade and strengthen resilience across the African continent.”
US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack added, “We are pleased to sign this MOU with AGRA to support inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa, enhance economic success for African farmers, improve food security and climate change adaptation and preparedness, and increase regional and international agricultural trade. We hope this partnership between USDA and AGRA will lead to increased tools available to farmers everywhere, but particularly on the African continent, to sustainably increase agricultural production.”
The combination between two great agricultural-focused organizations will see a significant impact to smallholders across Africa, the groups said. AGRA and the USDA will seek to provide farmers access to the USDA’s extensive work on plant and crop breeding; its tools, technology and data that will make food and agricultural systems more resilient under climate change; and its new technologies and resources to improve food safety and reduce food loss and waste.
Young men and women in agriculture and agribusiness are critical for the sustainable future of the industry and much of the continent, USDA and AGRA said. A critical element of the agreement will see the partnership promote involvement of young men and women along the entire value chain.