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Published: 20 May 2010
ONE supports new Administration initiative that will invest in poor farmers to boost global food security
Washington, D.C.-The global anti-poverty advocacy organization ONE enthusiastically backed the "Feed the Future" initiative that will make historic, coordinated investments in poor farmers to fight hunger and bring food security to millions around the world. Details about the new initiative were presented today by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah at the Chicago Council's Global Agriculture and Food Security Symposium in Washington, D.C., an event co-hosted by ONE.
Sheila Nix, ONE's U.S. Executive Director, said:
"Instead of scrambling with bags of food in response to a crisis as the core of our strategy to fight hunger, the United States can invest much more effectively-and ultimately less expensively-before hunger strikes. With targeted investments in solutions like better farming practices, improved seeds, healthier soils, efficient use of water resources and better market access, we can help farmers and their families in developing countries increase productivity, improve nutrition, and earn their way out of poverty.
"Today's announcement from Administrator Shah is historic. The Feed the Future initiative is comprehensive and adheres to the essential principles of development assistance, including investing in country-owned plans and delivering on sustainable and accountable commitments. It's a smarter way to approach hunger and poverty and an innovative approach to development assistance.
"Now it is up to Congress to take on this vital issue. Thankfully, there are champions in Congress already leading. Senators Lugar and Casey and Representative McCollum have introduced legislation that complements this initiative and, if passed, would ensure a sustained U.S. commitment to agriculture and food security. ONE calls on Congress to take action on the Global Food Security Act this year."
With today's vision laid out by Administrator Shah in the Feed the Future initiative, the United States is poised like never before to change the way we-and the world-address hunger, poverty, and development itself.
Today, more than one billion people suffer around the world from chronic hunger and food insecurity-more people than ever before. This means that one in six people don't get enough nutrients as they work, go to school or try to care for their families and can't benefit from the economic potential that agriculture holds.
Food insecurity hits Africa harder than anywhere else, which is surprising considering that the majority of African people are engaged in farming for their livelihoods. Assistance to help African agriculture has plummeted over the past few decades. Africans as a result have missed out on using agriculture as a way to feed themselves, earn a better living and grow their economies.
Amazingly, investments to help African farmers are at a much lower percentage of development assistance today than they were in the 1980s-from 18% of development assistance to just 4%. In dollars, donors invest about 75% less in agriculture than they did in the 1980s. Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are feeling the impact. Their yields and incomes have stagnated for 25 years-unlike anywhere else in the world. African nations and farmers have identified this as a critical need.
The Feed the Future initiative is the Obama Administration's comprehensive action plan for investing in global agriculture and food security. The initiative emphasizes five "Rome principles" adopted at the 2009 L'Aquila G8 of effective development: country-ownership, strategic coordination within the government and among donors, comprehensiveness, a commitment to multilateral institutions, and a promise to deliver on sustained and accountable commitments.
Through investing in country-owned plans, the U.S initiative seeks two objectives, to increase agriculture-led growth and to improve nutrition in 20 focus countries. Not only is this plan much-needed in the wake of the shocking number of food-insecure people around the world, but it provides an innovative model for the provision of foreign assistance that provides U.S. expertise to accountably implement programs chosen by developing countries to meet their own needs.
Studies show that investments in agriculture produce the highest returns in alleviating poverty and fighting hunger. The World Bank estimates that growth in the agriculture sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth than other sectors. We've already seen how agriculture has alleviated poverty and transformed economies in other regions of the world. It's a critical need and opportunity that Africans and African countries have recognized, prioritized and now-with targeted help-are ready to capitalize on.
The commonsense, country-owned investments envisioned by Feed the Future will help farmers earn their way out of poverty, providing families with sustainable incomes and communities with self-sustaining futures. Millions of African farmers growing more food, more efficiently will enhance trade and spur market-driven growth-the best way we know to combat poverty.
ONE is a campaign and advocacy organization backed by more than two million people around the world who are committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. More information at www.one.org
suffer around the world from chronic hunger and food insecurity-more people than ever before.
is the percentage drop in investments to help African farmers from its height in the 1980s. Donors invest about 75% less in agriculture than they did in the 1980s.
at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors, according to the World Bank.