Accra, March. 23, 2011:The Government of the United States of America (U.S.A.), through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has embarked on a programme aimed at helping poor countries fight hunger by investing in agricultural development.
The programme, dubbed "Feed the Future Initiative", utilises innovation, research and development to improve agricultural productivity, link farmers to local and regional markets, enhance nutrition and build safety nets.
Under the initiative, the U.S.A. works through multi-lateral and bi-lateral fora with stakeholders from civil society, the private sector and governments, and support country-led initiatives. In Ghana, the initiative seeks to transform the major rice, maize and soya value chains, with particular focus on the Northern region. The programme emphasises the full integration of nutrition and gender considerations within the transformation process. It also aims to improve the sustainable management of marine fisheries to enhance food security and the livelihoods of coastal fishing communities.
Ambassador William Garvelink, Deputy Co-ordinator for Development of the "Feed the Future Initiative", disclosed these at a news conference in Accra, yesterday. Ambassador Garvelink said the initiative in Ghana was also dedicated to improving the resilience of vulnerable households in targeted communities and the nation-wide improvement of the nutritional status of women and children. He said these components of the initiative are part of an integrated strategy to tackle poverty and food insecurity for smallholder farming and fishing communities.
Ambassador Garvelink said under the initiative, which USAID is funding with US $ 35 million, for the first year of the four-year programme (2011-2015), USAID would support the Government of Ghana in delivering on the objectives of the Medium-Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan (METASIP) 2009-2015. METASIP 2009-2015 aims to promote a modernised agriculture that culminates in a structurally-transformed economy and evident in food security, employment opportunities and reduced poverty.
In his remarks, Mr. Fentan Sands, Food Security Advisor, USAID, said the U.S Government's "Feed the Future initiative" would address the root causes of hunger that limit the potential of millions of people, using a combination of bi-lateral programmes and multi-lateral mechanisms. Mr. Sands said the initiative would promote growth in the agricultural sector, facilitate local and regional trade and invest in innovations and technologies to support productivity increases.
The "Feed the future initiative" directly supports METASIP as well as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact which was signed by all major stakeholders in the country committed to the fight against food insecurity and poverty reduction. An important component of the "Feed the Future initiative" is the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), a multilateral trust fund that has mobilized about US $ 1 billion from seven development partners to finance food security strategies in the world's poorest countries.