In late October, the World Food Program USA, a non-profit organization that supports the United Nations World Food Programme, honored philanthropists Howard G. Buffett and Bill Gates by presenting them with the 10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Award for their contributions to global food security.
"The focus that they have brought to individual smallholder farmers has been . . . . a change agent in the world of fighting hunger and improving food security," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who co-hosted the ceremony with WFP-USA.
The Gates Foundation works to improve the yield of staple crops, to strengthen farmers' access to markets and help governments improve their agricultural policies.
The Buffett Foundation supports groundbreaking research to improve soil health. Howard G. Buffett, said Secretary Clinton, "is a tireless advocate for localized solutions that combine better seeds with appropriate techniques that can benefit smallholder farmers."
Together with the World Food Program, the two Foundations helped launch the Purchase for Progress program, or P4P, which "buys food locally so the World Food Program’s aid benefits both families in need and nearby farmers," said Secretary Clinton. "In just three years, P4P has proven itself a powerful tool to help break the cycle of both hunger and poverty."
"Supporting such innovation and delivering results are also the basis of the Obama Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative," she said. "We have pledged at least $3.5 billion over three years to help our partner countries increase value along the entire agricultural chain – from fields to markets to homes. And that is the central pillar of our commitment to finding sustainable, long-term solutions to the hunger crisis."
While Feed the Future focuses on long term food security, the United States strongly supports food aid in times of crisis, like the ongoing food and humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. At the George McGovern Leadership Award ceremony, Secretary Clinton announced that the U.S. is providing an additional $100 million, primarily in food assistance, for drought-affected areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. With this announcement, the United States government, the largest humanitarian donor to the region, is providing over $750 million to meet ongoing and urgent humanitarian needs, including approximately $173 million humanitarian assistance for Somalia.