WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 – President Obama used his historic visit to Ethiopia this week to highlight his Feed the Future initiative, including a project led by DuPont Pioneer to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers.One of the farmers, whom Senior Editor Philip Brasher interviewed in 2014, was highlighted during the president’s visit to a food processing plant in Addis Ababa on Tuesday.
“So this used to be corn that she was able to produce; here is the corn she’s producing now -- you get three times the yield, not only did she get more income to build a new house and get some more clothes, she also was able to buy a cow, which, in turns, obviously gives her additional resources to support her family,” Obama said. “She’s now able to send her children to school.”
DuPont Pioneer’s project, called the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program (AMSAP), works with the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide training and bags of conventionally bred but high-yielding Pioneer seed to farmers for them to try for one year. Farmers who are successful are expected to buy the seed themselves the following year and many help train their neighbors.
Some 40,000 farmers have participated so far. They have increased their yields on average from 2.2 metric tons per hectare to 7 metric tons per hectare, according to the company. Their incomes have increased by an estimated 20 percent.
On Tuesday, the White House announced a $140 million Feed the Future package of investments to support partnerships to produce, market and utilize climate-resilient seeds to smallholder farmers. The U.S. will also provide an additional $2 million – matched by DuPont/Pioneer – to reach 100,000 Ethiopian farmers by 2018 with high-yield technologies and technical help.
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