Ambassador David J. Lane, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, traveled with the global poverty-fighting organization CARE to Guatemala and Honduras from April 21 – 24, 2014. CARE’s four-day Learning Tour allowed Ambassador Lane and other delegation members to visit food and nutrition security programs in the region, including those supported by the United States government. These programs showcased the lives of smallholder farmers and the efforts they are making to improve their nutritional status, gain access to local markets, and create sustainable business ventures.
The Learning Tour visited food security projects supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and a public-private partnership between CARE and the U.S. corporation Cargill. Members of the tour included Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, President and CEO of CARE USA Helene D. Gayle, as well as corporate sector partners, media members and Ambassador Lane. In addition to the project visits, the delegation discussed bottom-up solutions for improving value chains, resilience, and self-sufficiency; how the U.S. government can encourage mutual accountability on food security issues between governments and their citizens; and the role the private sector plays in development.
In Guatemala, Ambassador Lane and other Learning Tour participants spoke with U.S. government officials to discuss current food and nutrition initiatives in the country. They also met with beneficiaries of USDA’s Food for Progress program that helps poor households expand their agricultural value chains and supports the Government of Guatemala to improve the agricultural extension system. Additionally, they met with farmers participating in CARE and Cargill’s Nourishing the Future project – a program that helps smallholder farmers increase their incomes by linking them to functioning markets. The Guatemala portion of the trip concluded with a meeting with private sector representatives and discussion on how the private sector works in partnership with NGOs on development issues.
In Honduras, the group visited a USAID program that is helping to lift more than 30,000 households out of poverty by improving their health and nutrition practices and helping them start small businesses. The program is increasing smallholder farmers’ sales and incomes by introducing them to improved agriculture techniques and market-driven programs for high-value cash crops, as well as expanding off-farm microenterprise and employment opportunities. They also visited another CARE and Cargill partnership program which is empowering women to develop local businesses.
As the U.S. Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, Ambassador Lane appreciated the opportunity to visit these projects in Guatemala and Honduras in the company of such distinguished colleagues, and to be able to discuss with them a way forward towards the shared goal of a more food-secure world.