A new program for worldwide agricultural development kicked off Nov. 30 at Illinois. AgReach was welcomed by a West African drum performance and introduced by professor Alex Winter-Nelson, representing the agricultural and consumer economics department in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
A worldwide smallholder farming initiative, AgReach closes gaps in agrisystems so that smallholder farmers thrive. Paul McNamara, an economist and a professor at Illinois, leads the initiative and the team of 18 professionals based at Illinois and in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Sierra Leone, Malawi and Bangladesh.
With more than 20 years of experience in agricultural economics and development, McNamara founded AgReach to continue building the $22 million development portfolio composed of projects that have improved the quality of farming in more than 50 countries.
“One thing notable about the AgReach program is the mix of disciplines and the breadth of experience among the team,” said Kim Kidwell, the College of ACES dean. “People are a key ingredient in any well-functioning and impactful extension program, and in a relatively short amount of time, the AgReach team has assembled a world-class group of development professionals and scholars to implement its program of capacity development and action-oriented research.”
Initiated by the Modernizing Agriculture and Extension Services in 2012, AgReach builds upon other programs including the Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services and the Malawi Strengthening Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Services Project, both housed at Illinois.
More information may be found online.