Mboga na Matunda agronomist Zakaria Mwaisaka (right) trains local government extension worker Salome Ulimboka on plant fertilization methods in Tanzania. The country is one of eight African countries included in a Feed the Future initiative. (© Likati Thomas/Feed the Future Tanzania Mboga na Matunda)
Justine Konde wanted to eliminate pests from her small farm in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially the Fall Armyworm which damages her crops.
She learned about effective pest control in a farmer field school organized by Feed the Future, a US government program to fight global poverty and hunger.
Having learned to control pests and conserve fertilizers, Konde increased the size of his farm from 0.4 hectares to 6.9 hectares. The school has worked with 6,000 farmers in the DRC since 2021. Instructors work with community leaders such as village chiefs, who then encourage local farmers to participate.
“My role now is to spread the information among other farmers in my village,” she said, “to unite us in knowledge.”
Added 8 new target countries
Feed the futurean inter-agency initiative led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), recently added the DRC and seven other African countries to its list of “focus countries” where the United States is taking a coordinated approach to address the root causes of poverty, hunger and undernutrition.
Besides the DRC, other nations recently added to the list are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.
“The United States is there for African countries in this unprecedented crisis because it’s what partners do for each othersaid US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an August 8 speech in South Africa.
Work with local groups
Feed the Future works with local governments and farmer organizations to help farmers increase their production and maintain higher levels of productivity.
Program priorities include:
- Reduce hunger among women and children.
- Establish partnerships with the private sector.
- Expand the use of technologies that benefit communities.
The Feed the Future program complements the African Union’s own program Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programin which African governments agree to allocate at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture and rural development.
In June, President Biden announced $2.76 billion in US funding to help protect the world’s most vulnerable populations and mitigate the impacts of growing food insecurity and malnutrition.
“Our African colleagues have made it clear that beyond emergency relief, what they really want is more investment in agricultural resilience, innovation and self-sufficiency,” Blinken said. “We are answering those calls.”