By Victor Emeruwa
The Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance the agricultural transformation in Africa to create jobs, boost trade, strengthen resilience, and transform economies.
Through the MOU, AGRA and USDA intend to collaborate across several areas including: coordinating research on seed, soil and water technologies; training to ensure farmers have the capacity to be effective producers; enhancing each other’s existing programs and activities. The work aims to benefit Africa’s smallholder farmers, their families and the food and agricultural systems. AGRA and USDA under the MOU plan to promote the adoption, application, and uptake of science and technologies and enhance African farmers’ access to markets and participation in trade.
AGRA’s Board Chair, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said this is a significant partnership that aims to further improve smallholder farmers’ potential.
Dessalegn said: “USDA has a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector and together, we will further address the issues around food and agricultural systems that will enhance people’s livelihoods. Together we will respond to national and regional food security and trade priorities. I’m confident that our collaboration will accelerate employment, trade and strengthen resilience across the African continent.”
Agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack said the USDA was pleased to sign the MOU and noted that it will transform agriculture business in Africa. He said: “We are pleased to sign this MOU with AGRA to support inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa, enhance economic success for African farmers, improve food security and climate change adaptation and preparedness, and increase regional and international agricultural trade.”
“We hope this partnership between USDA and AGRA will lead to increased tools available to farmers everywhere, but particularly on the African continent, to sustainably increase agricultural production.”
Experts believe smallholder farmers will significantly benefit by leveraging USDA’s expertise, commitment, and support for Africa’s agricultural sector and AGRA’s existing research, knowledge and network in Africa. The combination between two great agricultural-focused organizations will see a significant impact to smallholders across Africa. AGRA and USDA will seek to provide farmers 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 under 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 for the sustainable future of the industry and much of the continent. A critical element of the MoU will see the partnership promote involvement of young men and women along the entire value chain using the partnership’s wealth of knowledge, resources, and experience in incorporating youth in the food and agricultural sector.
The MoU shines light on the importance of more funding for agriculture in Africa to ensure African countries can sustainably feed people across Africa. USDA continues to invest and raise the profile of the issues surrounding agriculture in Africa, especially in the build-up to COP27 in Egypt late in 2022.