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Winrock International

USDA awards $45M to Winrock International to expand climate-smart agriculture in Malawi and Thailand

September 22, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $178 million investment in Food for Progress projects to support Biden-Harris administration priorities of climate-smart agriculture and facilitating trade, and selected Winrock to implement two of the seven projects.

“Our team at Winrock is thrilled to have the chance to contribute to the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate action plan and partner with farmers, agri-businesses and communities across Malawi and Thailand,” said Aaron Sundsmo, Winrock’s senior director of agriculture, resilience and water. 

“These two new projects will dramatically increase the number of farmers using evidence-based, climate smart approaches to increase agriculture productivity, farmer profits, while also having environmentally positive impacts,” Sundsmo said. “We will be rigorously testing and refining our approach throughout implementation with leading research partners Michigan State University and Innovations for Poverty Action. We’ll ensure that our projects are not only having the desired positive impacts, but that the benefits are spread equitably and inclusively amongst all of the communities that we are serving.”

In Malawi, Winrock’s USDA-funded “Market Transitions to Enable New Growth Opportunities (MTENGO) project will address food insecurity by boosting production and profitability for 35,000 farms through implementation of sustainable and scalable climate-smart agricultural practices. “Mtengo” means both “value” and “foundation” in Chichewa, a language spoken in Malawi.

The project will use a farmer-first approach grounded in market incentives to increase resource-efficient, reliable production from Malawian agriculture in the face of climate change. To strengthen climate resilience for Malawian farmers, MTENGO will support farmers to adopt climate-smart approaches to improve livelihoods by efficiently allocating resources. Winrock will lead this project with partners Total LandCare and Innovations for Poverty Action.

In Thailand, Winrock’s new USDA-funded “Regional Agriculture Innovation Network” (RAIN) project will expand adoption of climate-smart production practices by 30,000 farmers through creation of a regional knowledge hub. RAIN will identify, validate, scale, and share climate-smart technologies and practices that increase productivity, profitability, and trade opportunities in the Thai agriculture sector, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource depletion.

Through validation of climate-smart technologies and practices, and capacity building of private and public sector actors, RAIN will increase competitiveness and expand opportunities for agricultural trade through climate-smart production. Winrock will lead this project with partner Michigan State University. 


Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on social, agricultural and environmental issues. Inspired by its namesake, Winthrop Rockefeller, Winrock combines scientific and technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation to deliver market-based solutions that improve lives around the world. Winrock’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources across the globe.


The Food for Progress program helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors. U.S. agricultural commodities donated to recipient countries are sold on the local market and the proceeds are used to support agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development programs. Food for Progress has two principal objectives: to improve agricultural productivity and to expand trade of agricultural products.