While we have made progress on hunger, there is still great need around the world for food security assistance. After nearly a decade of decline, world hunger has been on the rise since 2015. The world’s population is expected to grow from the current 7 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050.113 Strategic U.S. investments in food security, agricultural research and development, and nutrition are effective ways to build resilience that reduces vulnerability to food shocks and stresses and addresses chronic poverty and hunger. U.S. global food security programs provide safety nets for the most food-insecure populations, improve nutrition globally, and equip people with the knowledge and tools to feed themselves.
Photo By: Sohel Parvez Haque
Why the United States Invests in Global Food Security
The number of hungry people is rising for the first time in a decade. In 2017, 821 million people were estimated to suffer from hunger – up from 777 million in 2015.
Food insecurity is both a cause and consequence of conflict. Conflict often reduces food availability and access when agricultural production and markets are disrupted, and as recent history has taught us, food insecurity can trigger an array of responses, from food riots to revolution.
Malnutrition hurts generational growth. Globally, at least 17 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), resulting in between 1 and 2 million preventable child deaths each year, and undernutrition is the underlying cause of nearly half of child deaths. These children cannot learn efficiently, suffer permanent employment setbacks, and face high risks for fatal disease.
Investment avoids future expenses. Every dollar invested in creating crisis-resilient markets saves $3 in unneeded humanitarian aid during future crises.
Feed the Future is an interagency, “whole of government” intiative guided by the congressionally mandated U.S. Global Food Security Strategy that works hand-in-hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger. Focused in 12 target countries, these programs help people feed themselves and create important opportunities for a new generation of young people, while building a more stable world.
Food for Peace
Supporting the world’s most vulnerable populations, Food for Peace administers emergency and development programs, delivering in-kind food donations, vouchers, and cash-based assistance to countries in need.
Food for Progress
Food for Progress brings U.S.-grown commodities to be sold in local developing markets. Proceeds then fund agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development projects.
McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program
McGovern-Dole helps to support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food deficit countries around the globe by providing U.S. agricultural commodities, as well as financial and technical assistance, to support school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects.
USDA Local and Regional Procurement Program
Often connected to McGovern-Dole Food for Education Programs, Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) complements existing U.S. government food assistance programs by using domestic food products to distribute food assistance more quickly and establish local product markers.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is a nonprofit organization established by the 2014 Farm Bill. FFAR creates public-private partnerships to fill gaps, increase investments, and propel innovation in food and agriculture research. The FFAR model is already a success, generating $1.3 dollars for every tax dollar spent on innovative research. FFAR’s research produces thriving farms in a sustainable manner to increase nutrition and health for the world’s growing population.
Photo By: Rajendra Pandey
Key Legislation or Government Policies
Farm Bill (Last Authorized 2018)
Though typically associated with U.S.-based initiatives, the Farm Bill authorizes funding for U.S. agricultural programs worldwide. It authorizes USDA and USAID to distribute U.S. goods and innovation to those who need it through the Food for Peace program and Food for Education program. It also establishes the regulations and guidelines for transporting and distributing U.S. commodities abroad.
U.S. Global Food Security Strategy (2017-2021)
Authorized by the Global Food Security Act, the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy guides the implementation of the Global Food Security Act through a USAID-headed interagency initiative called Feed the Future. This program works to better establish markets in 12 target countries through improved techniques, crops, and transport as well as to combat hunger by building community resilience, enhancing nutrition, and improving water management.