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US invests $15M investment in African farmers to support food systems

The United States government has announced a $15 million investment to support inclusive and resilient food systems in Africa. This will be targeted at smallholder farmers, women, and small- and medium-sized businesses in food systems across the continent. 

Announced on Tuesday (02/09/2023), at the Africa Food Systems Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman and Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Dina Esposito said that this investment is part of the supplemental funds deployed by the U.S. government through Feed the Future– an initiative that addresses food insecurity and fertilizer price spikes in Africa.

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Strengthening resilience to shocks

During a Forum roundtable on the vision for Africa’s fertilizer and soil health, Esposito announced a $5 million investment in Sustain Africa, an initiative that coordinates public and private sector partners to help smallholder farmers access affordable fertilizer, strengthen resilience to future fertilizer shocks, and ensure a stable and nutritious food supply. 

With USAID’s support, the program will expand and improve its ability to track fertilizer price trends and signal when help is needed. 

This investment enables USAID and its private sector partners to help six million farmers in sub-Saharan Africa successfully grow crops, even in the face of shocks.

Supporting women in agribusiness

Deputy Administrator Coleman announced a $4 million investment in VALUE4HER, Africa’s first agribusiness digital marketplace specifically for women. 

70 per cent of women-owned small- and medium-sized businesses in developing countries cannot access financial services that meet their needs – a finance gap that drives gender inequality. 

VALUE4HER, implemented by AGRA, will help women-led agribusiness overcome these barriers by enabling them to build business networks, raise capital, and connect with buyers, financiers, and other service providers.

Investing in nutrition

During an event at the close of the Forum’s first day, Deputy Administrator Coleman also announced a $6 million investment, in partnership with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Incofin Investment Management, in the Nutritious Foods Financing Facility (N3F). 

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The first of its kind, N3F is an investment fund focused explicitly on improving diet quality and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa through financing small- and medium enterprises involved in the provision of affordable, safe, and nutritious local food. 

The fund also prioritizes investments that advance gender equality and provide at least 30 per cent of all loans to woman-owned or led small- and medium-sized businesses.

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