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Press Release 2009

United States and Ethiopian Governments Underscore Shared Goals for Agriculture Development and Food Security

Saturday, December 5, 2009 Addis Ababa (U.S. Embassy)

Representatives of the United States and Ethiopian governments today pledged to continue close collaboration to address shared goals for agriculture development and food security. 

During a joint field visit to a meat export abattoir and an animal feedlot in Mojo, His Excellency Ato Tefera Deribew, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ambassador Ertharin Cousin of the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, and Ambassador Roger Meece, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Ethiopia highlighted the close bilateral relationship of the two nations in both meeting immediate food needs for vulnerable populations as well as laying the longer term foundations for sustainable agricultural development in Ethiopia.   

Minister Tefera and Ambassadors Cousin and Meece visited the Luna Export Abattoir and animal feedlot in Mojo, which is supported by USAID’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards and Livestock Meat Marketing (SPS-LMM) Program.  The SPS-LMM program assists Ethiopia to increase the quality and competiveness of the livestock sector, which allows Ethiopian farmers and pastoralists to obtain higher incomes from the sale of their livestock.  The SPS-LMM is the type of program that could be expanded under the United States’ Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative to fulfill Ethiopia’s agriculture development and food security requirements.  Currently, USG agriculture development and food security programs provide over $300 million of annual assistance to Ethiopia.

During the site visit, representatives of both governments emphasized the close bilateral relationship of the two nations, including a longstanding partnership of assistance to the agricultural sector through such initiatives and the Productive Safety Net Program, agriculture productivity improvement programs, livestock and pastoral programs, land administration support and promotion of high value agriculture exports.  Ambassador Meece reaffirmed this partnership, stating: “The U.S. Government is committed to working as part of a collaborative global effort to improve food security, centered on country-led plans and ambitions.  Here in Ethiopia, we are working closely with the Ethiopian people and their government to help realize the country's tremendous agricultural potential."

Background:

At the July 2009 G8 Summit held in L’Aquila, Italy, heads of state, led by President Obama, together pledged $20 billion to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, and embark on a new approach that embodies five shared principles of (1) comprehensively addressing the underlying causes of hunger and under-nutrition, (2) investing in country-led plans, (3) strengthening strategic coordination, (4) leveraging the benefits of multilateral institutions and (5) making sustainable and accountable commitments.  At the November 2009 World Summit on Food Security in Rome, leaders and representatives from 193 UN member states and organizations unanimously endorsed this strategy as “The Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security.”  Ambassador Cousin underscored this commitment: “The United States stands by its commitment of $3.5 billion for this very important initiative and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with countries like Ethiopia to achieve long-term food security.” This fall, the United States also announced its new Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. Speaking at the unveiling of the Initiative, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “It is not a question of whether we can end hunger, it’s whether we will.” 

Additional information on the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative can be found at www.state.gov/s/globalfoodsecurity.