Ambassador Cindy H. McCain
U.S. Mission to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome
July 27, 2022
U.S. Government Assistance to Alleviate the Rising Global Cost of Fertilizer
We are facing an unparalleled global food crisis. The ongoing pandemic, climate change, conflicts, and now Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine have put an enormous strain on our global food systems. The U.S. Congress and American people have demonstrated unprecedented generosity in addressing the immediate and longer-term needs to mitigate this crisis. Most recently, the U.S. Congress approved two significant packages of supplemental funding. We plan to use some of this funding to provide assistance to not only Ukraine but also to those countries suffering from the knock-on effects of food shortages and skyrocketing food and fertilizer prices resulting from the situation in Ukraine.
As we have seen, Russia’s war in Ukraine is further limiting global fertilizer markets, resulting in near record fertilizer prices. To ease this financial strain, the United States plans to provide the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with $20 million for its targeted soil mapping work in Guatemala and Honduras. This initial tranche of money will also be used in Sub Saharan Africa.
Soil mapping helps farmers identify nutrient deficiencies in their soil, thereby allowing for more efficient use of fertilizer, water, and other resources. When combined with field trials and soil sampling, mapping optimizes fertilizer recommendations to farmers, resulting in increased yields, profits, and decreased environmental impacts. At this time of soaring fertilizer prices and climate shocks causing extended droughts and water stress, we expect the impacts of this work to be immediate and significant.
We are excited to partner with FAO on this work. FAO has proven experience in building capacity and digitizing soil maps in Ethiopia and elsewhere. FAO has demonstrated that these projects have fast, positive impacts on crop yields and sustainability. We are thrilled to invest with FAO in Central America and in Africa, addressing urgent needs of the food crisis while building longer-term resilience.
Ambassador McCain is currently on a five-day mission to Guatemala and Honduras to visit ongoing U.S.-funded UN food and agriculture projects and meet with government officials, United Nations agencies on the ground, and program beneficiaries. These projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the Governments of Guatemala and Honduras collaborate to reduce hunger and food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth.