Feed the Future program expands in 8 African countries

Justine Konde wanted to rid her small farm in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of pests, especially the pesky fall armyworm that damages crops.

He learned about effective pest control at a farming school hosted by Feed the Future, the US government’s program to fight poverty and hunger.

As he learned to control pests and take care of fertilizers, Conde 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. Teachers work with community leaders, such as village chiefs, and then encourage local farmers to participate.

“My role now is to spread the information among the other farmers in my village,” he said, “to unite in knowledge.”

Adding 8 new target countries

Feed the Future, an interagency initiative led by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), recently added the DRC and seven other African countries to its list of “target countries” where the US takes a coordinated approach to addressing root causes. poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Graphic list of the eight new African countries targeted by the Feed the Future program (Department of State/M. Gregory. Photos: USAID; Karin Bridger/USAID)
(Department of State/M. Gregory)

In addition to the DRC, the 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 that’s what partners do for each other,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech in South Africa on August 8.

Working with local groups

Feed the Future works with local governments and agricultural organizations to help farmers expand their production and maintain higher levels of productivity.

Program priorities include:

  • Reducing hunger among women and children.
  • Creating private sector partnerships.
  • Expand the use of technologies that benefit communities.

The Feed the Future program forms part of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, where African governments agree to allocate at least 10% of their 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 alleviate the growing impact of food insecurity and malnutrition.

“Our African colleagues made it clear that, beyond emergency aid, what they really want is more investment in agricultural resilience, innovation, self-sufficiency,” Blinken said. “We are responding to those calls.”

This story was published on August 18.

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