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African Ag Tech Focus of Presidential Visit

African Ag Tech Focus of Presidential Visit

U.S. Agency for International Development, President Obama release plan to improve tech in African ag

As part of a larger trip to African nations, President Obama last week visited a Senegal agricultural marketplace to promote a new partnership with USAID and an African organization that is expected to improve smallholder farmer access to ag technologies.

The partnership, dubbed the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership, involves the group Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa in a three-year, $47 million agreement that will work in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

President Obama visits with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah in Senegal last week. (White House photo)

The United States will support the effort through Feed the Future, President Obama's global hunger and food security initiative. The partnership is also part of the President's New Alliance commitment made at the 2012 G8 Summit.

The crux of the partnership is implementing technology in ag, which USAID said will spur economic growth and reduce poverty, hunger and stunting in children.

USAID noted specifically the partnership will set yield targets to work towards country-defined goals; identify innovations to reach said targets; support ag growth using communication tools; and promote policy reforms to benefit the agriculture industry.

The partnership is also expected to increase production of high-quality seeds by 45% in three years and ensure that 40% more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies, USAID said.

"The Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership will help strengthen seed sectors, including regulatory systems, and create new local seed companies, ensuring that game-changing technologies can reach and improve the lives of millions of smallholders," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

To kick off its new coordination role, the Seeds and Technologies Partnership held an inaugural workshop last week in Nairobi, Kenya, where USAID and AGRA representatives consulted with government, research, donor and private-sector partners on collaboration strategies.

President Obama also released the Feed the Future 2013 Progress Report during his trip, which outlines 2012 efforts to improve the initiative.

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