Remarks by Associate Administrator Eric G. Postel at High Level Day on Agriculture

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thank you, Reid. Good afternoon, everyone.

We know that climate-related shocks will become more severe in the future and that they will affect agriculture and landscapes.  For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, total production for maize could decline by up to 22% by 2050 due to climate change. 

So, we must recognize that if we are going to end hunger and extreme poverty, we need to adapt to tomorrow’s climate.  That is why, in USAID, we continue to integrate what we know about climate change into all of our programs, and help countries transition to climate-resilient, low-emission economic development.

Through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, we are bringing the resources and expertise of 11 departments and agencies to finding solutions to key constraints in nearly every stage of the food system. We are doing this by investing in science, research and innovations, such as climate resilient crop varieties. And we are also developing new analytical tools, ideas and data sources to help us predict and react to climate-related shocks effectively.

To succeed we need an integrated approach to systems change, which carefully considers the incentives and motivations of stakeholders along the value chain, and addresses key policy constraints. This is an imperative and we know we cannot do this on our own.

That is why we are building strong partnerships with the private sector, including global food traders and processing companies, to bring the world’s most advanced tools and technologies to new agricultural markets. And we are also engaging the legions of small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs that often act as the link between rural areas and growing urban markets. And it’s why we are passionately supporting the Consumer Goods Forum, an alliance of hundreds of multinationals, via the TFA 2020, in order to get to net zero deforestation in value chains such as beef, soy, and palm oil.

Our experience affirms that investing in climate-smart agriculture is not just critical for the future of the global food supply, or the global good – it’s also important for companies’ bottom lines. The truth of the matter is we all have a stake in this issue. In the short-term, the actionable thing we can do is to look at every single project and effort we are undertaking with all of our partner countries using data, to think about how the project can be climate-smart so we can adapt to the changes. Then, in the medium term, we have to look how to mitigate emissions from all agriculture value chains.

Thank you.


Moroccan Pavilion, COP 22 Conference Center, Marrakech, Morocco