United States Urges Partner Countries To Increase Support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program

Washington, DC - The Secretaries of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of State yesterday sent a letter to international partner countries urging nations around the world to expand their support for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

The United States spearheaded the creation of GAFSP in the wake of the 2007-2008 food price crisis. It assists in the implementation of pledges made by the G-20 in Pittsburgh in September 2009. GAFSP promotes food security by providing merit-based financing for the agricultural sector in low-income countries, with a focus on smallholder farmers in poor communities. GAFSP financing and technical assistance helps to increase agricultural productivity, link farmers to markets, reduce risk and vulnerability, and improve rural livelihoods. Managed by the World Bank, GAFSP is a multi-donor trust fund and partnership among developing countries, development partners, civil society, and the private sector.

“Since GAFSP was established, we have seen sustainable reductions in hunger and malnutrition, but the challenge of meeting the global demand for food is just as pressing as ever,” wrote Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Secretary of State John F. Kerry. “We are proud to champion this innovative program, and we call upon our international partners to join us in supporting the work of GAFSP. Together, we can make progress in the effort to eradicate hunger and poverty.”

As leaders gather for the World Bank-International Monetary Fund 2014 Spring Meetings this week, yesterday’s letter highlights the important role that GAFSP is playing in supporting the efforts of some of the world’s poorest countries in alleviating hunger and malnutrition. The letter calls on international partners to pledge additional support to meet funding goals for GAFSP. In October 2012, the United States challenged the international community to provide much needed funding for food security, by committing to contribute $1 to GAFSP for every $2 from other donors, up to a maximum U.S. contribution of $475 million. Since the announcement of the funding challenge, other donors have provided $230 million in new pledges. An additional $720 million in pledges from other donors is needed in order to fully leverage matching funds from the United States.

GAFSP consistently produces high impact, sustainable results, and the program is expected to improve the livelihoods of at least 13 million farmers across 25 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Already, some countries have seen rural incomes increase by more than 200 percent. In Bangladesh, GAFSP has already reached more than 430,000 farmers in the first two years of a five-year program, providing smallholder producers with training and improved drought- and heat-tolerant seeds and fertilizer that will help farmers adapt to climate change. Two and a half years into its five year-long Rwanda project, GAFSP has already reached more than 92,000 direct beneficiaries, of which half are women. By helping to increase soil fertility in hillside areas, GAFSP has enabled farmers to improve their yields by an average of fourfold across various crops. GAFSP has also supported the introduction of new high nutrient crop varieties that could improve nutritional outcomes for farmers and their families.

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