Yara takes action to avert hunger crisis in the wake of COVID 19
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people facing acute hunger could double. Supported by the United Nations, the Norwegian government and African institutions, Yara is taking action and committing $25 million to provide food for more than one million people in Southern and Eastern Africa.
Yara is launching Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future – an initiative with the goal to mobilize support for 250,000 smallholder farmers in seven African countries to secure food production and improved food security. The initiative includes advocacy and partnerships, farmer connectivity and digital solutions, and operational support including 40,000 metric tons of high quality fertilizers with zinc for improved nutrition. Yaraâ€™s fertilizer contribution, combined with agronomic support, is expected to triple maize production and feed more than one million people acrossÂ Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique for one year.
â€œVulnerable communities may face the most devastating food crisis in decades. If we donâ€™t act now, millions of people will be pushed into deep poverty and hunger. This is especially worrying in Africa where lives and livelihoods are at risk. As a critical part of the food value chain, we have a responsibility to support vulnerable farming communities and help avert a hunger crisis,â€ says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara International.
â€œThe COVID-19 health crisis threatens to become a global humanitarian catastrophe that could deal a fatal blow to communities already on the edge of survival,â€ says David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP). â€œThis initiative provides a good model for how the private sector and individual companies can step up, in partnership with African institutions, Governments and organizations like WFP, to help sustain production and food supply chains and safeguard the people most at risk during this pandemic.â€
â€œSustainable Development Goal 17 calls for partnerships to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. In the current COVID-19 crisis, partnerships such as the one Yara is initiating, are both commendable and important. The economic effects of the pandemic could dramatically increase hunger and poverty, particularly in Africa. Through this initiative, Yara and its partners can help secure critical food production for those most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic,â€ says Norwayâ€™s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg.
â€œI am deeply concerned about the risk of a hunger pandemic caused by the corona virus with a further 265 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. It is critical that we come together as one united global community to defeat this disease, and protect the most vulnerable,â€ says Dag Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Norway, who highly welcomes the initiative and commitment by Yara as public-private collaboration will be vital in addressing the a possible food crisis.
Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future will seek to:
- Keep food available and affordable for the most vulnerable.
- Keep SMEs going as they are the backbone of food systems in Africa.
- Get inputs to smallholders.
- Keep food markets open and safe.
- Keeping knowledge flowing to farmers and digitize for traceability whenever possible.
Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future will include support for the African Green Revolution Forum (Africa Food Forum), Generation Africa and the Farm to Market Alliance. The initiative will work in coordination with WFP, AGRA, AFAP and other regional and local organizations to strengthen operational support, manage on-the-ground operations and to provide digital enablement and personalized agronomic advise.
Yara hopes that the initiative can be a catalyst for other private sector players to join in a coordinated effort to deliver better farm productivity, meet local food demand, improve farmer incomes and improve population health through better nutrition.