U.S. Government officials make new food and agriculture commitments at the Borlaug Dialogue
Food and agriculture account for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions and governments have a key role to play in developing sustainable food systems.
U.S. officials outlined their plans for how to do so at the national and international level during the 2022 Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa in October.
“Today, the way we grow our crops must not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also help communities vulnerable to climate change build resistance,” said Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
During her remarks at the Borlaug Dialogue on October 19, Power announced several new USAID efforts focused on combatting food insecurity and enhancing climate-smart agriculture. They include:
- a $3.8 million investment to support the ISAAA AfriCenter, Kenyatta University, and Addis Ababa University to use CRISPR to develop new “Striga Smart” varieties of sorghum,
- a $75 million investment in AFFORD, a large-scale food fortification initiative aiming to enhance multi-sectoral collaboration, work with governments to set and enforce nutritional standards, and provide resources for scaling up food fortification,
- $27 million in additional funding to expand “Space to Place,” an approach which improves fertilizer efficiency using satellite imagery, across sub-Saharan Africa, and
- the Global Food Security Research Strategy, jointly led by USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal partners. The strategy provides a roadmap for investments with focus on three key areas of research and innovation: improved nutrition, climate-smart agriculture, and genetic improvements of crops and livestock.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expanded on USDA efforts to advance climate-smart agriculture during his closing remarks at the Dialogue.
To feed a hungry world, Vilsack encouraged a global focus on four pressing agricultural challenges: climate change, conflict, corruption, and COVID-19.
Vilsack emphasized a “transformational opportunity” to increase worldwide agricultural profitability in a sustainable manner. He highlighted several USDA initiatives including:
- providing climate research and tools for farmers through Climate Hubs and GRACEnet,
- creating small and large grant programs through the Commodity Credit Corporation,
- increasing worldwide investment and support for climate-smart agriculture through the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, and
- supporting partnerships in the Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition.
These initiatives aim to accelerate knowledge sharing and enhance market opportunities for climate-smart agriculture. Secretary Vilsack closed by sharing extraordinary optimism for sustainable, profitable, and inclusive food systems transformation through global communication, cooperation, and commitment.