USA – Land O’Lakes Development International, an affiliate company of US based member-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes has received funding from US non-profits to support new agricultural capacity building and food safety programs in Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East.

The funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will focus on five new programs critical for major agricultural development efforts in Georgia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Rwanda and Malawi.

Lebanon Investment in Quality (LINQ) Program will leverage technical support from Land O’Lakes, Inc. quality assurance experts, including both in-country volunteers and distance mentoring assignments.

Rwanda and Malawi will involve a cooperative development programme that will provide assistance to agricultural cooperatives as well as technical advice from the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Member Relations team.

Land O’Lakes International Development will work with Georgian dairy and livestock agribusinesses to improve food safety and quality protocols through the five-year program.

Other projects include a five-year food safety program in Egypt- Food for Progress and Farmer-to-Farmer Food Safety and Quality program in Egypt, Lebanon and Bangladesh.

“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,” said John Ellenberger, executive director of Land O’Lakes International Development.

“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.”

With the programs, Land O’Lakes is looking to build economies by strengthening local agriculture, helping businesses create jobs and linking farmers to markets.

It started implementing farmer-to-farmer programs in 1987 and has sent more than 1,400 volunteers in 27 countries.

Land O’Lakes International Fund received US$18.1 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation three years ago to increase the productivity of dairy cows and modernize breeding services in Tanzania and Ethiopia.

The money was meant to support 800 private and public artificial insemination service providers to train 225,000 small farmers on improved dairy cattle management.