By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.


WASHINGTON, May 26 – The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.



Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (left) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President Dr. Namanga Ngongi (right) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Secretary Vilsack’s office in Washington, DC, on Thursday, May 26, 2011. AGRA’s programs integrate seeds, soils, market access, policy and partnerships and innovative finance. The alliance strives for comprehensive changes across Africa’s agricultural system. Programs also support agricultural education and water management, and the involvement and training of youth. Photo courtesy of USDA.



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