October 8, 2010 / 7:47 PM / 9 years ago

US, Canada aim to boost poor countries' food output

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - An agreement to contribute $100 million for a private-sector program to increase agricultural output in poor countries was announced by Canada, the United States and the International Finance Corp on Friday.

Canada pledged $50 million, the U.S. $25 million and the IFC, an arm of the World Bank, another $25 million to set up a facility that is expected to leverage more than three times the total from other contributors.

The goal will be to support growth of competitive agribusiness sectors in low-income countries and so strengthen their ability to have a secure food supply.

“In poor countries, smallholder farmers, especially women, are the backbone of the agriculture sector,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “If they can have better access to new technologies, seeds and soil, they can grow more crops.

The private-sector facility will seek proposals from companies and financial institutions operating in poorer countries and choose projects that offer the greatest potential for boosting output and increasing access to markets. (Reporting by Glenn Somerville; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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