After the 2009 G-8 Summit, President Obama pledged at least $3.5 billion for agricultural development over three years in selected focus countries, funds which became the basis of the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative Feed the Future.
“One billion people worldwide are hungry,” noted United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. “Each year, inadequate nutrition contributes to 3.5 million deaths among children under five. Undernutrition robs the developing world of critical human capital and capacity, and undermines other development investments in health, education and economic growth. It also perpetuates the cycle of poverty and hunger by leading to poor health, lower levels of educational attainment reduced productivity and lifetime earnings."
Working with our partner country governments as well as many universities, multilateral and non-governmental organizations, research communities and the private sector, Feed the Future aims to lift millions of vulnerable people out of hunger and poverty.
The initiative is achieving concrete results. In a recent report, the independent, non-partisan think-tank Chicago Council on Global Affairs notes that “renewed U.S. efforts are helping further the plans of African, Asian, and Latin American country governments to revitalize their agricultural sectors, spur economic growth, and alleviate poverty.”
Most of the departments and agencies reviewed earned an evaluation of “good” or “outstanding” for their recent progress.
As a result, smallholder farmers in Guatemala are prospering, with better access to loans, markets, training and technology, Ghanaian farmers are improving grain storage practices to reduce post-harvest losses. With improved access to research recommendations, farmers are able to diagnose and control plant pests and diseases in Bangladesh. Devastating effects of vitamin and mineral deficiencies are being addressed through a new policy initiative in Uganda.
“Feed the Future is working,” said USAID Administrator Shah. “However, we know that our work is not yet done...By working together ... we have the ability to break the cycle of poverty and food insecurity and reduce the need for aid over time. And, by helping countries grow their own economies today, we will also be strengthening the partners of tomorrow who will increasingly contribute to global security and economic growth.”