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The Global Agriculture Program


A wheat field in Ethiopia.

The grants will help each country increase food security, raise rural incomes and reduce poverty by enabling small-holder farmers to grow more crops.

Significant and lasting reduction in global poverty cannot be achieved without economic growth that is sustainable and global in nature. So, at their meeting in South Korea in early November, G20 leaders set a development agenda which calls for the group's members to mobilize foreign investment and domestic capital to developing countries, thus helping to foster sustained economic growth.

With this in mind, and in support of G20 goals, the World Bank launched the Global Agriculture And Food Security Program, or GAFSP, earlier this year. Supported by the United States, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Ireland, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the program is aimed specifically at reducing poverty and improving global food security by increasing agricultural productivity.

"Last year, the G20 pledged $22 billion to reverse decades of neglect of small farmers in the developing world," said Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "It's time to follow through on those promises. ... Helping family farmers be more productive and profitable will have a massive impact on hunger and poverty," he said.

And so, shortly before the G20 meeting in Seoul, South Korea, GAFSP announced that Ethiopia, Niger and Mongolia will receive grants totaling $97 million. The grants will help each country increase food security, raise rural incomes and reduce poverty by enabling small-holder farmers to grow more crops.

Ethiopia will receive $51.5 million to help increase agricultural productivity and reduce soil degradation. GAFSP will also accelerate agricultural commercialization and agro-industrial development and protect vulnerable households from natural disasters.

The $33 million going to Niger will go toward building new irrigation and infrastructure, which will improve crop productivity.

And Mongolia's $12.5 million will help link farmers to markets; raise livestock productivity and quality while providing technical assistance to herders for easier marketing of their livestock.

The grants "demonstrate the promise of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program," said U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. "While 3 countries have been granted funding, many more compelling proposals were not financed due to lack of resources. In order to sustain this fund, we urge our G20 colleagues to join us in this endeavor."

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