How OPIC-supported projects help progress toward Global Food Security
The Global Food Security Act, which passed in July this year, aims to place food-insecure countries on a path toward self-sufficiency. This formal recognition of food security as a top global development priority builds on the work of multiple U.S. Government Agencies from USAID to OPIC, along with the U.S. Feed the Future initiative, which has been working to end global hunger by improving farm yields, reducing childhood stunting, and improving the earnings potential of small farmers from Sub-Saharan Africa to Asia and Central America.
This week marks Feed the Future week, and we here at OPIC are taking this time to look at some of the ways we are supporting the end to global hunger.
OPIC supports multiple projects aimed at advancing food security, both by empowering farmers to produce more food and reach larger markets, as well as building the infrastructure that will support food production, storage, and transportation through access to electricity and clean water. The projects OPIC currently supports are helping almost one million smallholder farmers earn a living.
In Africa, many smallholder farmers are unable to grow enough food to feed their families throughout the year. Often they lack modern farming equipment, technical knowledge, quality seeds and fertilizers, and the financing to access them. One Acre Fund was formed in 2006 to support these very small farmers in Africa, who are often based in hard-to-reach remote areas. OPIC committed a $10 million loan to One Acre Fund to help it reach more farmers in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
Another OPIC partner working to address food security is Root Capital, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit social investment fund, which lends money to small farmers through rural farm cooperatives in Central America, South America, and Africa. Root provides farmers with financial training, and invests in efforts improve productivity, such as combat the devastating leaf rust epidemic in Latin America.
In Senegal, OPIC has provided financing to Aventura Investment Partners, a startup working to help small farmers improve yields and expand production. With the help of a $3 million OPIC loan, Aventura has helped farmers purchase more tractors, combine harvesters, cold storage facilities, and advanced systems like satellite surveillance. The business has worked with more than 5000 farmers, many of whom were able to double increase production and significantly increase their income.
Because limited access to finance is one of the core challenges the world’s farmers face, OPIC also supports banks, Microfinance institutions and other financial intermediaries to support lending to small farmers. , PAMIGA Finance S.A., has used OPIC financing to provide small loans to help African farmers buy micro-irrigation systems so that they can continue to grow during the dry season.
Access to food is a fundamental development challenge across the globe. OPIC’s approach to development brings the necessary financing to projects that address solutions to the challenge of food insecurity.