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US contributes to VACS’s new multi-donor trust fund

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken recently announced that it will be contributing US$50mn to the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS)’s new multi-donor trust fund, hosted by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

VACS is a vital response to the expected 50% increase in global food demand by 2050 and is aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and improved nutrition in rural communities of developing countries by better adapting crops and soils to the changing climate. Besides natural resource scarcity, a growing population, progressive urbanisation and changing diets, the occurrence of frequent and intense extreme weather events further hinders food production. 

VACS employs an innovative above-ground/below-ground approach to boost productivity and nutritional quality. Above-ground efforts concentrate on developing resilient and nutritious crop varieties through plant breeding and addressing challenges like pest resistance and erratic rainfall patterns. Below-ground activities on the other hand, optimise land use and advance soil management. These include practices such as crop rotation, conservation tillage to reduce soil erosion, and the use of organic fertilisers like compost or biochar.

This holistic strategy will result in the production of crops that are more productive, possess a built-in resilience against extreme weather, rarely rely on costly inputs like fertilisers, and generate lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"The initiative aligns with our mission to provide the funds and technology needed to strengthen climate adaptation and empower small-scale food producers and rural communities to lead their own development. Adaptation is no longer a choice but a necessity,” said IFADs president Alvaro Lario, while expressing gratitude for the US State Department’s robust and timely support.

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