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On World Food Day, a story of restoring potato crops to Tanzania

Potato farming in Tanzania

 

Family and smallholder farmers play a global role in protecting our environment, eliminating hunger and achieving sustainable development – especially in developing nations. On October 16, World Food Day will highlight this issue, with the theme of “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth,” which will raise the profile of family and smallholder farmers.

As is often the case, however, small investments can make a big difference.

An example of the critical role these farmers play can be found in Tanzania – a nation of more than 51 million – where a soil fungus has ravaged potato crops, reducing yields by two-thirds.

As a response, Mtanga Farms Limited is working to introduce an entirely new culture of virus-free seed potatoes in Tanzania. Supported by a $3.5 million loan from OPIC, Mtanga Farms plans to make clean seeds available to more than 150,000 of Tanzanian farmers. This project is expected to relieve the food burden and reinvigorate farming in Tanzania.

a tractor in a potato farm in Tanzania

OPIC is part of the U.S. Feed the Future initiative, and has long supported projects that address global hunger and food security, by improving access to clean water and agricultural yields, and also by extending rural infrastructure and access to finance.

Since 1979, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recognized World Food Day to draw attention to what it calls the world’s greatest solvable problem and explore some of the underlying causes of hunger. The World Food Day website offers a good overview of this longstanding problem and the many issues affecting food security around the world.

 

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