The Global Food Security Strategy, also known as the Feed the Future Initiative (FTF), is a whole-of-government effort that addresses the root causes of hunger and poverty in developing countries and improves global food security and nutrition. Drawing on 11 federal departments’ and agencies’ expertise and resources, FTF works in countries facing high rates of hunger and malnutrition and supports country-driven approaches to help nations transform their agricultural sectors. Additionally, FTF partners closely with the private sector to foster economic growth and establish well-functioning markets.
What does it buy?
Funds support agriculture, nutrition, and resilience programs; research; and technical assistance—including research and development at U.S. land grant universities and international institutions of higher education.
Why is it important?
Strategic investments in food security, agricultural research and development, and nutrition are the most effective ways to build poor communities’ resilience. Investments in FTF help address chronic poverty and hunger and reduce these communities’ vulnerability to food shocks and stresses.
23.4 million more people live above the poverty line.
3.4 million more children live free from stunting.
5.2 million more families live free from hunger.
Farmers earned $13.7 billion in agricultural sales.
Since 2011, FTF has helped unlock $630 million for women and their businesses and ensured 3.7 million women had more input into farming decisions.
Smallholder and rural farmers in FTF countries are more likely to own their own land, shops, and technologies.
Increased investment in and support for women smallholder farmers is key to empowering them to feed their families, communities, and countries and alleviate hunger and malnutrition worldwide.
In Africa, FTF partner governments outpaced their neighbors’ domestic investments in agriculture and increased their investments by an average of 25%, a rate four times that of other African countries and representing an additional $719 million per year.
Despite FTF’s proven impact in its target countries, there were nearly 60 million more undernourished people globally in 2020 than in 2014—up by 10 million people between 2018 and 2019, due mainly to the greater number of conflicts and climate-related shocks.
The COVID-19 crisis threatens to exacerbate this trend—increasing the number of people living in hunger by up to 132 million.
To date, Feed the Future has helped a projected 23.4 million people lift themselves above the poverty line.
Why should Americans care?
FTF programs support both large and small U.S. businesses. From U.S. farmers to cooperatives, agribusinesses, banks, and entrepreneurs, FTF partners with more than 60 U.S. companies, 10 of which are in the Fortune 500.
FTF supports cutting-edge research at U.S. universities and research institutions, drawing on American innovation and expertise to develop effective technologies and innovations to address current and future challenges and protect agricultural commodities from global threats such as pests, disease, and drought.
More than 70 U.S. universities and colleges are involved in research at 24 FTF Innovation Labs.
Essential food security and nutrition programs have been disrupted due to COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions on movement and gatherings. Since the beginning of the pandemic, FTF has helped countries mitigate impacts on food systems, fostered resilience, and supported nutrition programs while protecting development gains and speeding recovery. Feed the Future and its coalition of stakeholders have the networks, experience, and capacity to adapt and help communities rebuild.
What more could be done?
Initially, FTF operated in 19 focus countries. However, in 2017, that number was reduced to 12. Increased funds could renew efforts toward target countries that were dropped and further invest in the 35 other countries implementing FTF programs.
Additional funds could help programs address the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems and help communities build resilience to future shocks, such as water scarcity, mass displacement, climate change, and invasive agricultural pests.
Greater investments could allow for more in-depth research, development, and innovations in food systems in rural, peri-urban, and urban environments to reach marginalized populations.
Funding levels may not accurately reflect those in the appropriations bills and/or reports due to rounding.