SEATTLE — The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new partnership project at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum. The Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (PIATA) will provide up to $280 million to stimulate agricultural development in at least 11 African countries.
PIATA advocates for increased linkages between small farmers and agribusiness to create economic opportunity. Sub-Saharan African farmers are among the most impoverished populations on the continent thanks to the slow growth of the agricultural sector. Africa’s exploding population rate further exacerbates resource deficits and contributes to widespread malnutrition and food insecurity.
The 2017 Africa Agricultural Status Report states that Africa needs an agricultural transformation to link small farmers with agribusiness. This would spark job creation and economic advancement for a large cohort of citizens.
The Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation works to stimulate agricultural development as a tool for inclusive poverty reduction. According to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation executive director Rodger Voorhies, “an investment in agriculture reduces poverty at four times the rate compared to other forms of donations.”
The five-year venture aims to increase food security and income levels for 30 million smallholder African farm households by 2020. Specifically, the program will work to reduce food insecurity in at least 20 countries by 50 percent, double the incomes of 20 million smallholder farmers and spark green revolutions in at least 15 countries. Priority nations included in the initiative are Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Both the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have longstanding commitments to agricultural transformation in Africa. The partnership will be primarily implemented by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a partnership between the two organizations that works to spark a green revolution in Africa.
Established in 2006, AGRA is based on the belief that given access to new technology and better storage practices, sub-Saharan African farmers could produce up to four times greater crop yields. The partnership builds on the Rockefeller Foundation’s past successes sparking green revolutions across Latin America and Asia.
The initiative aligns with sub-Saharan African leaders’ commitment to eradicating hunger. Specifically, PIATA embodies the same principles as the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. With this declaration, the African Union (AU) promised to end hunger by 2025. PIATA corresponds to the AU’s national economic strategy, ensuring seamless implementation of the initiative.
Both partners acknowledge that further involvement is needed by both the public and private sectors to spark an African agricultural transformation. The Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa serves as an exemplary model of private foundations collaborating to create change and will hopefully be emulated by other altruistic organizations.
– Katherine Parks