CEO Reaffirms Commitment to Empowering More Smallholder Farmers in Africa
During a recent visit to Heifer International’s operations in Africa, Heifer’s new President and CEO, Surita Sandosham, reaffirmed the commitment of the organization to elevate 10 million smallholder farming households globally out of poverty and into economic self-reliance by 2030, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sandosham visited Africa as the first stop on global tour of the nonprofit development organization’s operations, which will also include visits to regional teams in Asia and the Americas. She met the Africa team members at the regional headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, which gave her an opportunity to share her vision and her excitement for the work Heifer Africa is doing in the region.
While visiting the country, she met with some of Heifer’s young agritech innovation partners and other key stakeholders in Nigeria, reaffirming Heifer’s commitment to work with youth and innovate to transform Africa’s food systems, as well as working alongside smallholder farmers, producers, cooperatives and others to ensure sustainable agricultural interventions.
While addressing stakeholders, Sandosham said, “Heifer believes that smallholder farmers hold the key to transforming Africa’s food insecurity. With food importation across Africa averaging over USD 43 billion annually, we believe that access to finance, access to innovation, access to infrastructure and access to training, can increase food production and strengthen local food systems, reducing vulnerability to climate shocks and long-term dependency on imports”.
As part of her trip to Africa, Sandosham also visited Heifer’s country operations in Rwanda. She met with the Rwandan minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources ((MINAGRI), Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana, development partners, and other key stakeholders to discuss the progress of Heifer Rwanda partner projects and explore other potential collaborations in the country.
“It has been a pleasure visiting Heifer’s country operation in Rwanda, meeting with the regional team and other key stakeholder partners in our mission to end hunger and poverty in Africa,” said Sandosham. “For the last 48 years, Heifer has been in Africa working with both government and development partners to enable smallholder farmers and farming communities to build successful businesses, drive self-reliance and improve their living income. It was inspiring to see that the passion to make this a reality is palpable across the Heifer Africa region and our partners. Through the Heifer programs currently running in Africa, it is clear that we remain resolute in our mission to uplift smallholder farmers and their communities out of poverty.”
Speaking on the CEO’s visit to the region, Heifer International Senior Vice President for Africa Programs Adesuwa Ifedi said, “Having the CEO visit the region and meet our partners and key stakeholders, was critical to restating our position that for Africa’s food systems to thrive, the combination of interventions and partnerships at all levels is needed. Our strategic goal as a region over the next 8 years is to assist more than 6 million farmers to reach a sustainable living income by 2030, through strategic private and public sector partnerships to reach transformational scale. We remain unwavering in our mission and work to build resilience in agriculture because it remains a critical sector for Africa’s food security, workforce and economy to flourish”.