USAID makes big bet on research to reduce food security | Federal News Network

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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently provided two major academic grants to tackle the growing global food security crisis. $ 36 million to Davis University of California. And $ 25 million at Tufts University. Rob Bertram, chief scientist at the USAID Office of Resettlement and Food Security, joins. Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

Tom Temin die- Mr. Bertram, it’s good that we met.

Rob Bertrem Pom Thank you very much, Tom, it’s great to be here with you.

Tom Temin die- Now, these are really great help. I mean, even at the federal level, most colleges don’t earn $ 36 million. So tell us what you hope these two educational institutions will do with these two subsidies.

Rob Bertrem Pom So this is part of a larger program called Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Feed the Future, I will start by saying that for a minute, we say that the US Government is the government’s overall food security initiative. And this basically seeks to reduce hunger and malnutrition and extreme poverty in the world’s most populous countries. And this is especially true for sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and some parts of Central America. So feed the future. In it, not only in research, but also in the private sector, agricultural enterprises, manufacturing groups, and civil society organizations, we have access to science and technology and research as a key investment in US agricultural potential. They are working to fight hunger and malnutrition. But in this case, these subsidies are about using our best research skills. Working with partners in these countries can help solve problems by developing new solutions to reduce hunger and poverty and malnutrition.

Tom Temin die- And do solutions to these unique issues require logistics and distribution issues? Because it contributes to malnutrition. Or better farming methods? Or what food problem are you looking to solve here?

Rob Bertrem Pom So there are 21 feed the feed innovation labs, and you mentioned two of the new ones. One of them is in UC Davis – University of California, Davis – in horticulture. What you mentioned in Tufts is about nutrition and cooking. So that comes to the point where you are still raising it. But basically, this is a broad portfolio, and each of these labs includes many partners, including other universities in the United States. I think we have a total of about 70 university partners, but more importantly, we have collaborators and universities and national research organizations in the countries where we work. So these are all about partnerships. And one of the great things is that Tom is not only working with us here, we are not only developing new solutions, we are also going to scale and make real impact on the ground and make improvements, but we are building capacity. We will assist these countries in their long-term journey by effectively developing their own agricultural and food systems and nutrition research capabilities.

Tom Temin die- And only questions about donations to UC Davis. He mentioned fruits and vegetables, and the press release mentioned fruit and vegetable development. I think horticulture is more about food than land, which I associate more with agriculture. So tell us how the vegetable fits into the picture here.

Rob Bertrem Pom Well, I’m glad you marked that. Yes, we think about vegetables and fruits and the way you mentioned them – beautiful flowers and shrubs and trees. It also refers to fruits and vegetables in this case. This is part of our ongoing efforts to improve the global food security strategy, with USID agencies generally leading the way, but with many other partners, such as the Department of Agriculture and the State Department, among others. And there has been extensive consultation with all kinds of partners around the world to develop that strategy. And one of the priorities of the strategy is to improve the quality of the diet, to try to improve the diet, especially the key nutrients and vitamins and minerals in the diet of poor and weak people who are still rice. Fruits and vegetables are not only a source of improved nutrition, but we all know how to eat vegetables. It is also a great way for low-income farmers to lift their income and businesses out of poverty. One thing to note here is that in developing countries, hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty are concentrated among low-income families in rural areas. There are hundreds of millions worldwide. Surprisingly, even though they are farming and producing food, they are still suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Tom Temin die- We are talking to Rob Bertrem, a senior fellow in the Office of Resilience and Food Security at USAID. And so, to put it bluntly, do these subsidies set up food and vegetable distribution systems and routes that can be planted in those nations?

Rob Bertrem Pom that’s right. The work is done there by our partners. And, for example, to reduce post-harvest losses – for example, fruits and vegetables, these are very high. Understand the role of food production in the work of nutritionists and the role of women in the production system, as farmers, extension agents and decision makers, as well as the impact of nutrition on our work. . And we have many other creative labs. We have announced another new laboratory with State University of Pennsylvania on current crops and current concerns. So think of diseases like locusts and plant diseases. And this is something that we are developing the potential of our research institutes here in the United States. Another key point, Tom, is that this return is for the benefit of American manufacturers as well. We are ahead of pests and diseases, working on these crops and livestock and poultry and fish, and perhaps learning more about the adverse weather conditions. All of these things our researchers are learning and will bring benefits to producers here in the United States, but ultimately, you and I, the consumers, will benefit from a safer, more affordable and abundant supply of food.

Tom Temin die- Now, in the United States and other developed countries, agriculture has become one of the most technologically advanced engineering seeds and the most widely used seed. GPS and micro-irrigation and all these technologies based on broadband, fuel supply and physical distribution network. So they think that those kinds of nutrients for agriculture itself should be found in those countries. For example, do you have a GPS-enabled way to manage broadband, fields and forests, and so on?

Rob Bertrem Pom Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorly. Effective and efficient in a way that saves them. So, yes, the principles are the same, Tom, when we come into context, for example, in sub-Saharan Africa. But the principles are the same, but the way we approach them will be somewhat different. But we are seeing a huge impact on mobile phones, and now, a farmer may know the price of what is growing in the capital. This makes her more powerful when you meet brokers, you know, making more money on the farm. And, at the end of the day, it will increase the efficiency of the market by reducing losses, providing food in large quantities and especially to low-income consumers. So yes, the concepts are there. We use science. We are working very closely on issues such as drought tolerance and crop tolerance. And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes.

Tom Temin die- And finally, what are some of the schedules here? These, again, I thought they looked like big donations, you know, 36, 25, and you know, for more funding options, and you will find people living overseas under these subsidies. What are the deadlines? What do you think will happen when the goods are delivered?

Rob Bertrem Pom Well, it is especially important in research. It should be noted that these are long-term jobs. It is not something you do in one day. Research, you know, you almost never know the answer. You can identify the problem, but you need to develop a solution. So these are five-year subsidies. And that amount of assistance you mentioned will be more than five years. And it includes both resources from Central Food and future budgets. Here in Washington, we provide these USAID-enabled, state-of-the-art programs in the region. In many, many countries, we have US international development agencies working on the ground with our internal partners. And then you can use the innovations that come from these research supports and help balance them. These programs are usually extended for a second five years or three years, no matter what, to get the job done. But that depends on the demand, the performance of the partners – are they achieving what they set out to achieve? So we have real cooperation here. Our university partners – these 70 universities – including various universities in the United States, which run these feed the Future Innovation Laboratories, Tom. We have partners in historically black colleges and universities, and we use other minority service institutions. And the idea is that those researchers are working with their partners overseas, and at least they are sticking with it to do the work. So it could be in five years, it could be based on both performance and interest and influence, and ultimately. Often in those second five years, we will have a greater impact on the land because those technologies and better land and water management practices and new policies can be implemented and implemented on land.

Tom Temin die- So the next Norman Borlag could be a woman in sub-Saharan Africa.

Rob Bertrem Pom I hope so. And let me tell you – there were a lot of great candidates out there. It is encouraging to see ownership and leadership. You know, this is another important thing in our work. This is not about us going out and giving anything to anyone. It does not even teach people to do things. It is to work with them as a leader. And in many cases, Tom is our partner. You are doing this together, you bought this. And to tell you the truth, it is important that they seek it, because that means it will last. You know, our partners must also believe in this work. It is a change in the way people think about foreign aid, or perhaps something like food aid. Many people think of food aid, which remains very important as a tool. But this is very different from this long period of time, but it has continued to be successful, and it continues today, even with sub-Saharan African women.

Tom Temin die- OK, Rob Bertram is a senior scientist at the US Agency for International Development’s Food and Drug Administration. Thank you for joining me.

Unknown speaker die- It was fun Tom thank you so much.

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