Abt Associates to Increase Food Security in West Africa

August 10, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Abt Associates was awarded a $20 million contract by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote agribusiness and trade promotion in West Africa. The Expanded Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (E-ATP) program will increase the value and volume of intra-regional agricultural trade of rice, millet/sorghum and poultry value chains along key transport corridors in seven countries in West Africa, including Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, in support of the President’s Global Food Security Response. E-ATP aims to increase trade by more than 30 percent in target value chains and reduce illicit charges related to regional transport by 25 percent along selected corridors.

Spikes in food prices in 2007/2008 illustrated West Africa’s vulnerability to external food shocks and highlighted the possibility of widespread food insecurity and even unrest. Growing volatility in prices and trade flows; limited credit and import demand resulting from the global financial crisis; and ongoing structural changes in global and regional commodity markets threaten food security in the region.

“If West Africa is going to increase its food security, it must make intra-regional trade more efficient by better connecting areas of surplus and deficit,” said Constantin Abarbieritei, Division Vice President for International Economic Growth at Abt Associates.

Specifically, E-ATP will (1) reduce the incidence of physical and policy-related barriers to moving agricultural and related commodities regionally in West Africa; (2) enhance linkages among agricultural stakeholders; (3) improve effectiveness of advocacy for regional and national policies that promote regional agricultural trade; (4) improve efficiency of trade transactions and regional market access, in particular through the improvement of a regional market information system; and (5) enhance the capacity of private poultry and animal health sectors to prevent, control and recover from avian influenza outbreaks.

E-ATP builds on the ongoing USAID-funded Agribusiness and Trade Promotion Project (ATP), which focuses on maize, livestock/cattle, and onion/shallot value chains in West Africa. Both projects will contribute to achieving the 6% agricultural growth target set under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

Abt Associates will lead project implementation with additional assistance from CARANA Corporation, ACDI/VOCA, J.E. Austin Associates, Inc., Banyan Global, ASVELIS and the Global Cold Chain Alliance.

Abt Associates, an employee-owned company, applies scientific research, technical assistance, survey, and consulting expertise to a wide range of social, economic and health policy issues; international development; clinical trials and registries; and complex business problems. Founded in 1965, the company provides services to U.S. federal, state and local governments; universities and foundations; media; and major corporations. In fiscal year 2009, the company had revenue of $264 million. Its staff of over 1,300 is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; Bethesda, Maryland; Durham, North Carolina; Lexington, Massachusetts (Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions, Inc.); New York, New York (Abt SRBI); and in Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

SOURCE Abt Associates

Source: newswire

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