AGRA and USDA partner to improve farmers’ food and agricultural systems

Through the MoU, AGRA and USDA intend to collaborate in several areas, including: coordinating research on seed, soil and water technologies; training to ensure farmers have the capacity to be effective producers; mutually enhancing their existing programs and activities.

The work aims to benefit African smallholder farmers, their families, and food and agricultural systems. AGRA and USDA, under the MoU, plan to promote the adoption, application and adoption of science and technology and improve African farmers’ access to markets and their participation in trade.

AGRA Board Chairman, HE Hailemariam Dessalegn, former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said this is an important partnership that aims to further enhance the potential of small farmers.

“The USDA has extensive experience in the agricultural sector and together we will further address food and agricultural systems issues that will improve people’s livelihoods. Together we will address national and regional priorities for food security and I am confident that our collaboration will accelerate jobs, trade and build resilience across the African continent.”

“We are delighted to sign this MoU with AGRA to support inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa, improve the economic success of African farmers, improve food security and climate change adaptation and preparedness, and increase the regional and international agricultural trade,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We hope this partnership between USDA and AGRA will lead to an increase in the tools available to farmers everywhere, but especially on the African continent, to sustainably increase agricultural production.”

Smallholder farmers will benefit significantly by leveraging USDA’s expertise, commitment and support for the African agricultural sector and AGRA’s existing research, knowledge and network in Africa. The combination between two large agriculture-focused organizations will have a significant impact on smallholders across Africa. AGRA and USDA will seek to provide farmers with access to USDA’s extensive work on plant and crop breeding; its tools, technology and data that will make food and agricultural systems more resilient to 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 to the sustainable future of the industry and much of the continent. A key element of the MoU will see the partnership promote the involvement of young men and women across the value chain using the partnership’s wealth of knowledge, resources and experience in youth inclusion in the food and agricultural sector.

The MoU highlights the importance of more funding for agriculture in Africa to ensure that African countries can sustainably feed people across Africa. USDA continues to invest in and raise awareness of issues related to agriculture in Africa, particularly in the lead up to COP27 in Egypt in late 2022.

Lana T. Arthur