Speech of Ambassador Robert T. Yamate
Reception of Sorghum in Tolagnaro
and Announcement of USAID/FFP $4.3 million contribution to WFP operations
Taolagnaro, February 09, 2018.
I am very pleased to be here with you today to highlight the partnership between the governments of Madagascar and the United States to provide this sorghum. It is our hope that this sorghum will give families the food they need until they are able to harvest their own crops in a few months.
These bags of sorghum are part of the 1,870 Metric Tons of sorghum the people of the United States are providing to the people of Madagascar. This emergency food relief will help 60,000 families during the lean season. This 1.87 million kilograms, or 4.1 million pounds of food is a lot, but the demand for food in the South is great. There are so many needy families suffering hardship right now.
That is why I am here with you today. I’d like to announce that in addition to our previous assistance, the American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, are providing another $4.3 million in emergency food assistance to Madagascar. This assistance will be provided through the World Food Program.
Over the past four years we have provided more than $39 million in emergency food assistance. As the largest emergency food donor to Madagascar, we are committed to helping our friends when they are in need.
Farmers here in the southern part of Madagascar have endured four consecutive years of drought. Times have been tough. Families have suffered poor harvests and made tough choices, including the decision to sell livestock, seeds, and farming tools for food. And in the Southeastern part of the island, households are facing a crisis due to the combined effects of drought plus damage from Cyclone Enawo.
We know that choices like this are harmful to the development of sustainable agriculture and to the future of Madagascar. But the sorghum that we welcome today is a visible demonstration of the friendship and respect between America and Madagascar. With this new sorghum, and with our announcement of $4.3 million in additional funding through the WFP, we remain committed to ensuring the immediate health and well-being of the Malagasy people. With our ongoing partnership with the government of Madagascar, we remain committed to finding ways that will prevent the need for emergency aid in the future.
These programs are merely a first step. We know that Malagasy farmers, with the right support, can provide enough food for themselves, their fellow citizens, and help provide food security to the entire region. We all need to work together – governments, national and international NGOs, civil society, agricultural experts, small farmers and others — as partners to ensure long-term food security for the people of Madagascar. Your combined efforts here are truly inspiring. I applaud your courage to move forward despite the huge challenges you face.
I would like to recognize the Government of Madagascar, the regional and local authorities, our partners at Catholic Relief Services and the World Food Programme, and all of you present here, and thank you for being our partners. We have worked together with dedication, under difficult circumstances. Together we have helped hundreds of thousands of people, and saved countless lives. It is only by working together that these results were possible.
America is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Madagascar. Thank you, everyone, for your time and attention.