18 December 2013
The project preparation grants will help attract investment in agricultural infrastructure projects in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania while strengthening links from farmers to markets to tables across Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a December 17 press release.
“As a key supporter of the Agriculture Fast Track Fund, the U.S. government is fulfilling its commitment under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “These exciting grants are helping to address food production and food security programs in East and West Africa, and are the first step in leveraging donor funding to catalyze private sector investment in support of Africa’s long-term economic growth and food security.”
In all, six firms from Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia were approved for funding under the AFT’s first round of grants, with a total funding amount of nearly $3.2 million.
Created as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and launched in May, the AFT is a nearly $28 million fund to spur agricultural infrastructure development in African countries that are members of the New Alliance, including Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.
Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a joint commitment by African leaders, private sector partners, and Group of Eight members to accelerate responsible investment in African agriculture and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022.
The AFT finances project preparation grants, enabling firms to finance project design work such as feasibility studies, market analyses and environmental impact and other activities required by banks and other investors to issue commercial loans. The fund is supported by the governments of the United States, Sweden and Denmark.
These are among the first grants to improve African food security and nutrition:
• An award of $551,990 to the National Federation of Food Production Cooperatives to support project preparation for a food production and food security program in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to build six warehouses, three rice milling plants and four cassava processing plants, and secure equipment such as drip irrigation systems.
• An award of $220,850 to Darsh Industries for project preparation to set up a tomato processing plant in Iringa, Tanzania. Darsh will build, staff and purchase cargo trucks and equip at least eight collection centers in Iringa to serve as buying and outreach stations for local farmers.
The AFT is currently accepting applications for qualified projects through December 31. To learn more about the AFT, including how to apply for grants, go to the AFT website.