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Partnerships increase the impact of relief, development in the Sahel
This is a part of a series of blog posts leading up to this year’s World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, where GHI will release its 3rd Annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® on October 17. Please join us!
More than 18 million people are facing severe food shortages in Africa’s Sahel region this year as drought devastates crops and livestock. Food insecurity is common in the Sahel, but many governments, businesses, and nonprofits are forming new partnerships to change that reality.
This spring, African and international heads of state joined humanitarian and non-profit organizations to form the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative in the Sahel (AGIR-Sahel). AGIR-Sahel calls for investments in drought-resistant crops, the empowerment of female farmers, and increased collaboration among the region’s pre-existing agricultural initiatives. The partnership will employ private sector expertise and strengthen the link between emergency response and development.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) is also working to battle food insecurity and malnutrition by improving African economies through agriculture-led growth. CAADP is entirely African-led, and brings together leaders across various sectors to improve coordination of projects, share knowledge, and support development efforts. The program’s partnerships have made investments in irrigation and seed technology, markets and infrastructure, access to financing, and more.
Development organizations are increasingly recognizing the need to integrate emergency relief and long-term agricultural development programs. A program run by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) meets the immediate needs of vulnerable families in the Sahel through cash-based programs like food vouchers and cash transfers, while providing temporary work opportunities that enable people to increase incomes and develop sustainable agricultural practices.
In the northern Segou region of the Sahel, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) works with non-profit ACDI/VOCA, also a GHI consultative partner, to train farmers in sustainable agriculture and water management techniques. Farmers who take part in the Alatona Irrigation Project produce $1,000 per hectare in an area where the average yearly income is $700. These farmers use their earnings to invest in improved agricultural inputs, enabling them to transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
The resources, skills, and technologies that the private sector develops and employs will be increasingly important to achieving advances in global food and nutrition security. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah has commented that “We should embrace greater private sector engagement in development, and identify new ways to harness the skills, technologies, and innovations that companies large and small can bring to bear.”
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