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The United States is developing an unprecedented initiative aimed at advancing food security worldwide. "The scope and scale of this initiative," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "represents an elevation of development as a key element of [U.S.] foreign policy."
Massive hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies, and borders. Since 2007, there have been riots over food in more than 60 countries. Food is also linked to energy security: when the price of oil spikes, the cost of transporting food rises, while the increased demand for biofuels also affects prices. And it’s linked to climate security; droughts and floods caused by climate change destroy cropland and send food prices higher.
Clearly, food security is not merely a question of getting food to hungry people. It represents the convergence of complex issues and as such, demands a comprehensive response. “If we can build partnerships with countries to help small farmers improve their agricultural output and make it easier to buy and sell their products at local or regional markets,” said Secretary Clinton, “we can set off a domino effect. We can increase the world’s food supply for both the short and the long term; diminish hunger; raise farmers’ incomes; improve health; expand opportunity; and strengthen regional economies.”
In July the U.S. along with leaders of the G-8 pledged 20 billion dollars to a global effort focused on sustainable agricultural development. The U.S. pledged a minimum of $3.5 billion over the next 3 years for agricultural development in addition to resources to meet emergency humanitarian needs. The effort will be guided by a set of principles that includes a commitment to work with partner countries to create and implement their development plans. Few know better the obstacles that hinder a country’s food supply than the people who live and work there.
“Revitalizing global agriculture will not be easy,” said Secretary Clinton. “In fact, this is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive diplomacy and development efforts our country as ever undertaken. But it can and will be done. And it is worth doing. And if we succeed, our future will be more prosperous, more stable, and more peaceful.”