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U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen visits Green Climate Fund resilience agriculture site in Zambia, reaffirms support to enhance food security and climate change adaptation

Lusaka, 23 January 2023 – U.S Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen has called for urgent action to adapt agricultural practices and technologies to the changing climate, whilst reaffirming that the US Government is committed to making sure that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) had sufficient resources to carry on this important work.  
She said this during a field visit to Mwalumina community, in Chongwe district in Zambia where 16 women and six men have established a cooperative under the GCF-funded project Strengthening Climate Resilience of Agricultural Livelihoods in Agro-Ecological Regions I and II In Zambia (SCRALA), to help community members migrate from poverty to wealth.
“We are also advancing climate adaptation through our latest $155 million contribution to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. We are prioritizing innovative projects, such as providing farmers with new seeds that are more resilient to droughts, heat, and other extreme conditions. Already today, two-thirds of the Program’s projects are climate-related”.
Speaking during the visit, Ms Yellen acknowledged that the last decade has seen storms, floods, and droughts in Africa, which have increased in severity and frequency and have in turn hurt agricultural yields.
“Indeed, farmers – like the ones we work with here – are often the first witnesses of the changing climate and its consequences. They know that climate change is not just a future threat; it is already here,” Yellen said.
UNDP Resident Representative Lionel Laurens said the SCRALA project, implemented in partnership with the Government of Zambia, aims to strengthen the resilience of small-scale farmers against climate risk.
“The SCRALA project supports the Government of Zambia to strengthen the capacity of farmers to plan for climate risks that threaten to derail development gains. Further, the project promotes climate-resilient agricultural production and diversification practices to improve food security and income generation, improve access to markets, and foster the commercialization of climate-resilient agricultural commodities”, said Laurens.
With Ms Yellen was Honourable Gary Nkombo Minister of Local Government and Rural Development representing the Minister of Agriculture currently outside the country, His Excellency the Ambassador of the United States of America, Michael Gonzales and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative Lionel Laurens, Country Representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ms Fillipini Suze and the World Food Programme (WFP), Ms Cissy Byenkya. Ms Yellen stressed the important role women play in the economy and society, particularly women in Zambia, who constitute more than half of the agricultural labor force. She pointed out the significant gender inequities that persist in access to land, capital, seeds, and fertilizer.                  
“This suppresses agricultural productivity and harms output. I believe that we must advance the cause of women farmers across Africa. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it is also crucial for food security and the economy”, said Yellen.
View the original news release by UNDP Zambia here.