Feed the Future Thematic Overview Note: Expanded Markets and Increased Investments
The overarching FTF initiative goal is to “sustainably reduce global hunger and poverty by tackling their root causes and employing proven strategies for achieving large scale and lasting impact.” Sustainable agricultural intensification is key to meeting the above challenges. Investment in agriculture is a proven lever for combating food insecurity and encouraging broad economic growth. The poverty reduction impact of agricultural growth is, in general, greater than the poverty reduction impact of nonagricultural growth, and is greater when the agricultural growth is broadly based and includes the small farm sector.
The value chain work proposed by the USAID missions in Uganda and Zambia begins with the observation that there is substantial untapped productivity in the small farm sector in both food and export or commercial crops. This untapped potential translates into substantial “money that’s left on the table” year after year in the form of reduced growth and poverty reduction. While USAID has heretofore invested substantially in agricultural value chain development, meeting the FTF goals requires not just doing more of the same, but learning how to create pro-poor value chains by reaching further down the wealth continuum to involve resource poor farmers in the uptake of new technologies and market opportunities.