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USAID, Global Company Collaborate to Improve Food Security
May 13, 2013

A Zimbabwean farmer prepares to sow maize seed in Harare in 2011.

10 May 2013

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) signed an agreement May 9 with the global company Syngenta International AG that will advance U.S. efforts to fight hunger and increase food security in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The agreement will support farmers in these regions, USAID said in a news release from Cape Town, South Africa, the same day.

“Every night, nearly 870 million people in the world go to bed hungry,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “Scaling the adoption of innovative technologies like drought-tolerant seeds and crop insurance can build the foundation for sustainable food security.

“By strengthening our partnership with Syngenta,” Shah said, “we can reduce hunger and undernutrition across three different continents and help bring the end of extreme poverty within reach.”

Under the agreement, USAID and Syngenta will further collaborate in research and development and smallholder capacity building, working with scientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers and other donors. Syngenta and USAID already work together in many countries and will broaden their current relationship.

The new commitment advances agricultural development and food security goals set by developing countries and supported by USAID through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, which is part of the U.S. contribution to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

As announced in May 2012, Syngenta has committed to invest more than $500 million over 10 years in Africa. Under the agreement, Syngenta and USAID together will build the capacity of smallholder farmers to adopt and safely use technologies that increase their yields through training, demonstrations and other approaches. With USAID, Syngenta will work in specific New Alliance countries and explore ways to increase growers’ use of technologies in crops such as potatoes and will expand smallholder access to tools such as crop insurance and seed treatment.

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading companies, with more than 27,000 employees in some 90 countries. Its purpose is to bring plant potential to life through science by increasing crop productivity, protecting the environment, and improving health and quality of life.

“Our collaboration with USAID is part of our ambition to enable a worldwide step-change in farm productivity,” said Syngenta Chief Executive Officer Mike Mack. “Public-private partnerships such as this, drawing on the strengths of each party, will be catalysts for transforming agriculture by improving knowledge and technology in farming, especially in developing markets.”

The New Alliance, announced by President Obama at the 2012 Group of Eight (G8) Summit, is a shared commitment between African governments, G8 members and the private sector to work together to accelerate investments in agriculture to improve productivity, livelihoods and food security for smallholder farmers. As part of this global effort, Feed the Future supports countries in developing their own agriculture sectors to generate opportunities for economic growth and trade, particularly for smallholder farmers, many of whom are women.

In 2012, Feed the Future helped more than 7 million food producers adopt improved technologies or management practices that can lead to more resilient crops, higher yields and increased incomes. The initiative, led by USAID, also reached nearly 12 million children in 2012 through nutrition programs, which can prevent and treat undernutrition and improve child survival.

To learn more about Feed the Future, visit the initiative’s website.