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Malawi set to benefit from USDA’s $178 million investment in Food for Progress projects


“Our team at Winrock is thrilled to have the chance to contribute to the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate action plan and partner with farmers, agri-businesses, and communities across Malawi and Thailand,” said Aaron Sundsmo, Winrock’s senior director of agriculture, resilience, and water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $178 million investment in Food for Progress projects to support Biden-Harris administration priorities of climate-smart agriculture and to facilitate trade and selected Winrock to implement two of the seven projects.

“These two new projects will dramatically increase the number of farmers using evidence-based, climate-smart approaches to increase agriculture productivity and farmer profits while also having environmentally positive impacts,” Sundsmo said. “We will be rigorously testing and refining our approach throughout implementation with leading research partners Michigan State University and Innovations for Poverty Action. We’ll ensure that our projects do not only have the desired positive impacts but that the benefits are spread equitably and inclusively amongst all of the communities that we are serving.”

In Malawi, Winrock’s USDA-funded “Market Transitions to Enable New Growth Opportunities (MTENGO) project will address food insecurity by boosting production and profitability for 35,000 farms through the implementation of sustainable and scalable climate-smart agricultural practices. “Mtengo” means both “value” and “foundation” in Chichewa, a language spoken in Malawi.

The project will use a farmer-first approach grounded in market incentives to increase resource-efficient, reliable production from Malawian agriculture in the face of climate change. To strengthen climate resilience for Malawian farmers, MTENGO will support farmers in adopting climate-smart approaches to improve livelihoods by efficiently allocating resources. Winrock will lead this project with partners Total LandCare and Innovations for Poverty Action.

In Thailand, Winrock’s new USDA-funded “Regional Agriculture Innovation Network” (RAIN) project will expand the adoption of climate-smart production practices by 30,000 farmers through the creation of a regional knowledge hub. RAIN will identify, validate, scale, and share climate-smart technologies and practices that increase productivity, profitability, and trade opportunities in the Thai agriculture sector while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource depletion.

Through the validation of climate-smart technologies and practices and capacity building of private and public sector actors, RAIN will increase competitiveness and expand opportunities for agricultural trade through climate-smart production. Winrock will lead this project with partner Michigan State University.

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