This originally appeared on the Feed the Future Blog.
It’s not every day that the president of the United States travels to Senegal.
It’s also not every day that he announces more than $180 million in agriculture investments in the West Africa region to improve food security.
Today, during his first stop on his Africa trip, President Barack Obama, along with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, highlighted the Government of Senegal’s commitment to ensuring prosperity and trade through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Senegal announced its intention to join the New Alliance earlier this month.
- The Government of Senegal announced that, in partnership with the Government of Canada, it will commit to three key policy reforms to help build an environment more conducive to investment in the agriculture sector.
- Ten private sector companies—nine of them Senegalese enterprises—have signed letters of intent to invest over $134.4 million in the agriculture sector. These investments will help provide new market opportunities for smallholder farmers through activities including maize, peanut and rice production and processing; fertilizer; organic soy and peanut seed production; and processing for cashews, dairy, millet and tomato.
At the same time, President Obama also announced that the United States has delivered on a major New Alliance commitment made at the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David. USAID and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have launched the Scaling Seeds & Technologies Partnership, a multilateral effort that will coordinate diverse country-led, donor-financed and private-sector efforts to promote technology-driven agricultural productivity growth. The $47 million grant will work to increase production of high-quality seeds by 45 percent over three years (for 97,758 metric tons of additional seed) and ensure that 40 percent more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies.
Closing out his time in Senegal, President Obama joined Administrator Shah to tour the Feed the Future Agricultural Technology Marketplace, a gathering of several West African private sector entities, NGO partners, and farmers demonstrating how key research and innovation can help improve the lives of smallholder farmers.
At the marketplace, President Obama announced the release of the Feed the Future 2013 Progress Report, which outlines progress made through the initiative in fiscal year 2012.
These investments in agriculture embody our new approach to development, which emphasizes:
- Country-led reforms that foster a positive environment for private investment
- Partnership with the private sector as an engine of growth and development
- Innovations in science and technology to bend the curve of development
- Local capacity building to ensure sustainable, long-term progress
See the White House fact sheet on global food security and nutrition for more information.