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Calling For More Support For Food Security


FILE - A farmer plows the field in Saulawa village, on the outskirts of Nigeria's north-central state of Kaduna.

For every $2 from other donors, the United States will contribute $1 to food and agricultural security, up to a total U.S. contribution of $475 million.

Early in his first term in office, President Barack Obama made it clear that alleviating global food insecurity and undernutrition would be a top priority of his administration. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. development aid, he introduced a new model for development.

The United States would partner with other countries, and private and non-governmental organizations, to develop new programs. But instead of managing independent programs or simply handing out food, they would target smallholder farmers and their governments to stimulate agricultural productivity from seed, to market, to table.

Through President Obama’s leadership, the 2009 G-8 Summit resulted in over $22 billion in pledges to fight the underlying causes of global food insecurity. This included $3.5 billion over 3 years from the United States, the largest pledge of any single country. This pledge laid the foundation for Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Five months later, G-20 member countries supported the launch of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, to help implement these pledges. U.S. contributions to GAFSP are an essential part of its commitment to mobilize $3.5 billion toward global food security under Feed the Future.

As Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew wrote in a recent open letter to donor countries, GAFSP is a great success. “GAFSP consistently produces high impact, sustainable results, and the program is expected to improve the livelihoods of at least 13 million farmers across 25 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Already, some countries have seen rural incomes increase by more than 200 percent,” they wrote.

But GAFSP’s financial outlook is uncertain: demand from developing countries far exceeds GAFSP’s available resources. To continue to help developing countries meet their own food security goals, GAFSP needs additional funding.

For that reason, two years ago, the United States issued a challenge to donor countries: for every $2 from other donors, the United States will contribute $1 to GAFSP, up to a total U.S. contribution of $475 million.

So far, other donors have committed $230 million in new pledges. But donor countries will have to contribute $720 million more to meet the United States’ funding challenge.

The United States is proud to champion this innovative program, wrote Secretary Kerry and Secretary Lew. But we can’t do it alone. “We call upon . . . . our partners, to join us in supporting the work of GAFSP. Together, we can make progress in the effort to eradicate global hunger and poverty.”
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