AGRA, USDA Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Cooperate on African Food Security

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore ways to help smallholder farmers in Africa through coordinated research, exchanges, training and development activities.
Signed in Washington by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and AGRA president Dr. Namanga Ngongi, the MOU includes AGRA and USDA joint efforts to promote seed development and soil enhancement, reduce crop loss, manage water resources, improve data collection, develop farmer training programs, create market information systems, and improve human capacity and food-related infrastructure in Africa.
“Investing in agriculture is the surest path to help reduce poverty, accelerate wider economic and social development, boost women’s influence within their societies, and provide new opportunities for business. USDA has a wealth of expertise in many critical areas of agriculture development, and this agreement will enable us to share that knowledge and resources to benefit smallholder farmers across the entire food value chain in Africa,” said Dr. Ngongi.
“The inter-related challenges of global food security are more pressing now than ever,” said Vilsack. “Agricultural development is the key to unlocking increased incomes and combating poverty for millions of people and many nations. And this partnership announced today between AGRA and USDA will enable us to deliver real results for hungry people around the world.”
The MOU will be in effect for five years. AGRA and USDA will initially focus on increasing food production in African breadbasket regions – areas with high potential because of existing policies, infrastructure and growing conditions – such as Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania and Mozambique.
About the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

AGRA is a dynamic partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural value chain from seeds, soil health and water to markets and agricultural education. AGRA’s Board of Directors is chaired by Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Dr. Namanga Ngongi, former Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, is AGRA’s president. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK’s Department for International Development and other donors, AGRA works across sub-Saharan Africa and maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana.

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