Major companies in agricultural technology have joined forces with the leaders of the principal industrialized countries to focus on sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to improve agricultural productivity, fight poverty, and feed a growing population in a sustainable way.
“We commit to launch a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to accelerate the flow of private capital to African agriculture, take to scale new technologies and other innovations that can increase sustainable agricultural productivity, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities,” the Group of Eight major industrial nations said after their conference at Camp David. The private sector pledged $3 billion to the effort, the U.S. State Department said.
Syngenta, Monsanto, and DuPont are among the companies participating in the new alliance with business investments and contributions. Syngenta will invest more than $500 million to reach more than five million farmers and spur productivity gains of 50 percent or more, CEO Mike Mack said. Syngenta will also recruit and train more than 700 new employees with a high level of agronomic specialization.
Monsanto Co. Chairman Hugh Grant said the company would contribute $50 million, helping to introduce new corn hybrids suitable for Tanzania and available royalty free to seed companies, among other projects and investments. DuPont’s CEO, Ellen Kullman, said the company will invest more than $3 million over the next three years to help smallholder farmers in Ethiopia to achieve food security and is sponsoring development of an index to measure the drivers of food security across 105 countries.
“Private sector companies — we estimate nearly 45 of them — will make clear and concrete commitments to invest more than $3 billion in agricultural projects and programs that will help reach millions of small-scale farmers — most of whom are women — improve their product and improve their outcomes,” said Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “G8 partners and other international development partners will reaffirm their commitment to coordinate their activities in-country and support this new public/private approach.”
“By taking this new approach, we believe that it’s possible to move 50 million people out of the condition of poverty and hunger,” Shah said.