President Obama announces new initiative to fight world hunger, poverty

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



Washington DC, USA, May 18 - President Barack Obama announced a new public-private effort today with forty-nine companies committing to invest over $3 billion in Africa's agricultural sector as part of the G8's New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security initiative.

"History teaches us that one of the most effective ways to pull people and entire nations out of poverty is to invest in their agriculture," Obama emphasized.

Globally Positioned Agriculture

The announcement, made in collaboration with Grow Africa, an innovative partnership led by the World Economic Forum, the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), was made during the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs.

Africa governments that are committed to agricultural development and food security have agreed to take the lead, Obama said, building on their own plans by making tough reforms and attracting investment. 

“Donor countries -- including G8 members and international organizations -- agree to more closely align our assistance with these country plans. And the private sector -- from large multinationals to small African cooperatives, your NGOs and civil society groups -- agree to make concrete and continuing commitments as well, so that there is an alignment between all these sectors,” he explained.

Obama said that it was “critical to focus on the urgent challenge that confronts some 1 billion men, women and children around the world -- the injustice of chronic hunger; the need for long-term food security.

At the G8 meeting tomorrow, Obama said there is going to be a special session devoted to food security and it will include leaders from the first three nations to undertake this global effort: Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia, President Mills of Ghana, and President Kikwete of Tanzania.

 “We will stay focused on clear goals, boosting farmers' income and helping 50 million people lift themselves out of poverty. We can unleash the change that reduces hunger and malnutrition. This is the new commitment we are making today,” Obama said.

The forty-nine companies who have agreed to partner in this effort include a who's who of global agribusinesses, including AGCO, Cargill, DuPont, Monsanto, Rabobank, Syngenta, Swiss Re and Yara-some of which have long been investing in Africa, while others are launching new initiatives.

“We are making a major investment commitment to expand Africa's agricultural productivity and food security by expanding its access to fertilizer,” said Joergen Haslestad, Chief Executive Officer of Yara International.

“Africa has become one of our strategic growth regions and our aspiration is to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture,” added Michael Mack, Chief Executive Officer of Syngenta.

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