Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Obama announces a $3bln plan food security and farm productivity in Africa

US President Barack Obama has announced a $3bln (£1.9 bln) plan to boost food security and farm productivity in Africa, US officials say. They say the initiative is aimed at alleviating shortages as world food supplies are being stretched by rising demand in Asia’s emerging markets. Food security is also on the agenda of this weekend’s G-8 meeting. The summit near Washington is being dominated by Europe’s debt crisis and a possible Greek exit from the euro zone. You cannot have stability and security as long as regions and countries and communities are deeply food-insecure,” said Rajiv Shah head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). President Obama unveiled the Africa plan ahead of his first meeting with new French President Francois Hollande. The leaders of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania have been invited to attend the G-8 meeting on food security. The head of USAID, Rajiv Shah, said earlier the move showed the administration’s commitment to boosting world food production as rising wealth in Asia drives consumption.”By taking this new approach, we believe that it’s possible to move 50 million people out of the condition of poverty and hunger,” he told reporters. The US plan is aimed at increasing farming productivity in Africa. “You cannot have stability and security as long as regions and countries and communities are deeply food-insecure.””Governments cannot tackle this challenge alone. The skills, resources and financial expertise of leading private businesses will help transform African agriculture, giving poor farmers the chance to pull themselves out of poverty, hunger and malnutrition,” said the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell. In recent years, food shortages have led to price rises and unrest in many import-dependent countries, including many in Africa. In the 2009 G-8 summit in Italy, major industrial countries promised more than $20bn over three years to improve food access to Africans and others hit by high prices.