John Ellenberger, executive director of Land O'Lakes International Development, said, "Land O'Lakes International Development welcomes the ongoing partnership of USAID and USDA as we continue leveraging the expertise of a nearly century-old, farmer-owned cooperative to improve livelihoods and enhance agriculture worldwide.
"We're excited to build collaborative efforts for international economic development that unite host country agricultural stakeholders, Land O'Lakes, Inc. farmers and technical staff, government leaders and academic experts to maximize results."
The five new programs focus on agricultural capacity building, food safety and cooperative development. The projects are:
• Lebanon (food safety): The Lebanon Investment in Quality (LINQ) Program, funded by USAID, is a three-year project focused on enhancing food safety and quality expertise in the agribusiness and fresh products sectors. The project will leverage technical support from Land O'Lakes, Inc. quality assurance experts, including both in-country volunteers and distance mentoring assignments.
• Rwanda and Malawi (cooperative development program): Land O'Lakes International Development's business relationships and cooperative management expertise will be used to provide assistance to Rwandan and Malawian agricultural cooperatives through USAID. In addition to technical advice from the Land O'Lakes, Inc. member relations team, Land O'Lakes, Inc. member cooperatives will also provide technical assistance for the project.
• Georgia (food safety – Food for Progress): Working alongside experts at Michigan State University and the Georgian Farmers Association, Land O'Lakes International Development will work with Georgian dairy and livestock agribusinesses to improve food safety and quality protocols. Funding for this five-year program is provided by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service via the Food for Progress Program.
• Egypt (food safety – Food for Progress): A five-year project will focus on work alongside the Government of Egypt and Egypt's National Food Safety Authority to inspect and coach food businesses in new food safety standards. The program will leverage the expertise of the International Food Protection Training Institute, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The program has been awarded funding from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service via the Food for Progress Program.
• Egypt, Lebanon and Bangladesh (Farmer-to-Farmer Food Safety and Quality): Farmer-to-Farmer Food Safety and Quality (F2F FSQ) is a five-year USAID-funded program that will provide technical assistance to host organizations by utilizing volunteer expertise. Land O'Lakes International Development began implementing Farmer-to-Farmer programs in 1987 and has sent more than 1,400 volunteers — including over 160 Land O'Lakes, Inc. staff and cooperative members — on F2F assignments in 27 countries.
Land O'Lakes International Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit helping communities around the world build economies by strengthening local agriculture, helping businesses create jobs and linking farmers to markets. Since 1981, Land O'Lakes International Development has implemented over 300 dairy, livestock and crops development programs in nearly 80 countries — growing farmer, cooperative and commercial businesses along the way.