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food for progress

Working Together to Address Global Food Insecurity

As a daughter of farmers, and as someone who has spent her career working on behalf of farmers, one of the things I care most deeply about is the future of agriculture –  both in the United States and around the world. That is why one of my highest priorities at USDA has been to help develop the next generation of farmers, ensuring that women, young people, and others have access to the programs and support they need to farm successfully. 

As Deputy Secretary, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Africa, Central and South America. I’ve met many inspirational farmers from around the world, and while the languages we speak, the crops we grow, and the production methods we use may differ, one thing rings true in every conversation: we share the same passions and the same challenges in feeding a growing world population.

New Roads Provide a New Path to Prosperity in Senegal

We don’t spend much time thinking about roads in the United States. We worry about the traffic on them, but we don’t often consider the importance of the actual road itself. But to the Senegalese villages of Sindone, Yabon and Laty, a new road represents a path to a more prosperous life.

A new 7.5-mile stretch of road now runs through the three villages. It is the first renovated secondary road completed with the support of USDA’s Food for Progress program. I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new road in the village of Laty and seeing the difference it will make in the residents’ lives. The road will connect the villagers with markets where they can sell their crops, like mangoes, cashews and palm oil, to create new economic opportunities and expand food availability.

Food for Progress Helps Female Farmer Forge Path to Success in Ethiopia

On a recent trip to Africa, I spent time in Ethiopia witnessing how USDA’s work there is helping the country’s agricultural sector to grow and thrive, especially for women farmers.

I visited a small-scale, woman-owned dairy farm near the town of Mojo, about 50 miles south of Addis Ababa, to see how the Feed Enhancement for Ethiopian Development (FEED) project, an activity supported by USDA’s Food for Progress program, has boosted milk production through better feeding practices and farm management.

Helping Haiti Recover Three Years Later

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Thomas Jacques, today to emphasize USDA’s ongoing commitment to help the Haitian agricultural sector recover from the devastating impact of the 2010 earthquake.

U.S. Soybeans Support Sustainability in Afghanistan

Minnesota soybean farmers recently gathered at a local seed house to witness final preparations for a shipment of U.S. soybean seeds about to make a 7,000-mile journey to Afghanistan. The shipment is part of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress Program and will provide subsistence farmers in Afghanistan with 68.5 metric tons of early maturing soybean seeds to plant.

Focusing on the Future of Food Assistance

USDA’s food assistance and development programs serve a dual purpose: to meet the immediate needs of hungry people, and to show their countries how to rejuvenate their agricultural sectors and increase their capacity to trade. We accomplish these goals in cooperation with other U.S. government agencies and with private-sector partners ranging from non-governmental organizations to research institutions to agribusinesses. And we are always looking for ways to be more effective.

So this week, at the International Food Aid and Development Conference (IFADC) in Kansas City, we got back to basics, discussing steps we are taking to operate our international aid programs more efficiently to ensure that program dollars go directly to eliminating hunger and poverty. We focused on how USDA can strengthen our partnerships with academia and international relief and development groups, as well as with local and international companies. After all, these organizations have the know-how and expertise that allows USDA to leverage limited funding to make a broad and enduring impact.

Food for Progress Project in Bangladesh Helps Develop Prawn Farming

A recent Food for Progress (FFP) project in Bangladesh shows how a small effort can have a big impact on a community. The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty project is managed by Winrock International with the help of USDA and the Ministry of Fisheries in Bangladesh. The goal of this project was to help local farmers boost their incomes by adding prawns and vegetables into their existing farming efforts.

From Ship to Shore: U.S. Soy to Benefit Afghan Families

As we approached Norfolk, Va. yesterday, we could see the big seaport cranes in the distance, hovering over neat stacks of multicolored containers. Hulking cargo ships moved in and out of the port, one of the East Coast’s busiest, collecting and carrying U.S. products to millions of consumers overseas. Truck drivers, longshoremen, port police – so many careers make up a bustling port city. Somewhere in this flurry was the container we had come to see. We found it at the facilities of ARREFF, just beyond the water’s reach in the town of Portsmouth. ARREFF is a “transloader,” a business that packs, repacks and helps to transfer U.S. products destined for foreign markets.

Afghan Farmers Turning Mines to Vines

Convincing Afghan grape growers to cut off 11 of the 13 canes on each grape vine was not an easy task for Afghan extension agents in the Roots of Peace organization. This process, known as trellising, ultimately leads to bigger, healthier grapes, as the farmers soon learned. In its first year implementing this Food for Progress (FFPr) program, Roots of Peace convinced 18 farmers to utilize their technical assistance. After this, participation in the program took little convincing: 180 farmers sought their help in the second year, and over 3000 are signed up for this year.