US Chips In $50 Million for Farmers Battling Climate Change

Photo by Bhuwan Bansal

The United States announced a $50 million contribution to a new United Nations fund that aims to help developing countries adapt their agriculture to climate change.

The donation came as climate negotiators gathered in Dubai for the latest round of United Nations talks. It underscored the Biden administration’s efforts to work with international institutions to address global warming.

The new fund, called the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils, or VACS, is run by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, an anti-poverty agency of the United Nations. It will provide financing to help small farmers in Asia, Africa and Latin America adjust to hotter temperatures, shifting rain patterns and other climate impacts.

“Adaptation is no longer a choice but a necessity,” said Alvaro Lario, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in a statement thanking the United States for the contribution.

The VACS fund will focus on techniques like developing heat-tolerant crop varieties, improving soil health and helping farmers switch to crops that are less vulnerable to climate change. Its goal is to increase food production and improve nutrition in developing countries, which are expected to bear the brunt of climate impacts.

Small farmers receive a tiny fraction of global climate adaptation funds, even though they produce one-third of the world’s food, recent research has found. Last year, adaptation aid fell 44 percent even as overall climate finance increased.

“This holistic strategy will lead to more productive crops, built-in resilience against extreme weather, reduced reliance on costly inputs like fertilizers, and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” the agricultural development fund said in a news release.

The VACS initiative already has funding commitments from Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and other governments. Major agribusiness companies like Cargill and ADM have also pledged support since the fund was established last year.

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