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U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Food Security
Historically, the United States has been the single largest donor of emergency food aid to the developing world. But recent events, such as the food crisis and economic recession, along with shifts in global policies have spurred U.S. investment in long-term agricultural development, particularly through small-scale farmers, as a mechanism for reducing hunger and poverty worldwide.
The small-scale farmers who stand to gain the most from these increased investments in agriculture are women. Empowering women and ensuring their full potential as farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs will more effectively grow economies and stave off malnutrition. ICRW advocates for U.S. investments in agricultural development to involve women, as both farmers and caregivers, in efforts to expand agriculture.
Feed the Future Initiative
Feed the Future aims to partner with national governments, the private sector, local civil society organizations and others to invest in agriculture to increase the productivity of small-scale farmers and raise the incomes of the poor. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama committed to investing $3.5 billion over three years in agricultural development. A broad range of U.S. government departments and agencies, including USAID, the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Treasury Department, and the National Security Council, have come together in unprecedented coordination to craft the administration’s initiative.
ICRW advocates that investments in the livelihoods of rural women farmers will accelerate agricultural productivity, spur economic growth and improve child nutrition. ICRW supports the administration’s efforts to work with local civil society organizations and women’s farming cooperatives to ensure that women benefit equally from the initiative’s activities.
Congressional Support for Global Food Security
Congressional support of global food security is critical to maximizing the benefits of Feed the Future. During the 111th Congress (2009 - 2010), members from both chambers of Congress supported increases to U.S. funding for global food security, including Sens. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Reps. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.). ICRW supports their efforts to bring greater attention and assistance to poor and hungry people around the world.