At an international summit in Italy last year, President Obama pledged to provide at least $3.5 billion over three years to attack the root causes of global hunger by speeding up agricultural development and improving nutrition.
Building on that promise, a new U.S. Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative seeks to catalyze agricultural-led growth by raising the incomes of the poor, increasing the availability of food and reducing malnourishment through sustainable development.
These efforts will supplement America’s ongoing commitment to humanitarian aid that alleviates the immediate impact of hunger.
In too many places, agriculture has so deteriorated that people cannot grow enough to feed their families or earn an income from selling their crops. Or, if they can grow the food, they have no way of transporting it to market. As a result, in cities and villages throughout the developing world, food is at times scarce and prices can be volatile, often beyond what people can afford.
The new U.S. hunger and food security initiative applies a model of development based on partnership, not patronage. We will work with developing countries that take the lead in designing and implementing evidence-based strategies with clear goals that address their unique needs. The U.S. has learned from past aid programs that clear country ownership and strong country commitment are critical to long-term success.
The United States also is working with countries to develop approaches that strengthen the entire agricultural chain -- from the lab, where researchers develop higher-performing seeds; to the farm, where better water management, fertilizer use, and farmer training can help improve productivity; to the market, where the U.S. is helping to share product information and build the infrastructure that will let people process, store, and transport their crops more effectively; and finally to the table, where families break their daily bread. The end goal is to give people the opportunity to buy and grow nutritious food and receive a balanced diet.
By improving agriculture and nutrition, the United States has the chance to help a significant percentage of the world’s people achieve the stability, prosperity, and opportunity to which we all aspire.