Obama Announces African Farm Policy

Earlier this week, President Barack Obama announced government support for an alliance between major agribusinesses and non-profits designed to help Third World farmers develop sustainable agricultural techniques.

According to United Nations reports, the rapidly growing global population will outstrip global food production within the next twenty years. If agricultural production does not increase by 50 percent, UN officials estimated, the result could be massive hunger and poverty in the developing world.

Obama’s announcement is part of a major international effort to alleviate hunger in Africa that hopes to combine private and public sector resources. “We believe we’re really unlocking business investment in African agriculture in a way that will transform that sector and support improved outcomes for small farmers,” said Raj Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Non-profit aid agencies stressed the importance of these public-private links, with some organizations pressuring G-8 nations to continue offering government support to supplement private investment. According to Raj Shah, “We need both public and private partnership in order to achieve these extraordinary results.”

The investment projects planned will focus their energies on a handful of African nations, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Ghana, rather than placing their hopes on scattered projects across the continent. The success of these targeted projects, officials hope, will lead to further investments and reforms.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer