Feed the Future Reaches 9 Million Households

This Liberian family has gained knowledge about farming lowland rice and vegetables through Feed the Future.
This Liberian family has gained knowledge about farming lowland rice and vegetables through Feed the Future.

By Kathryn McConnell
IIP Staff Writer
Washington,
July 1, 2013

The U.S. Feed the Future program helped more than 7 million farmers in 19 countries adopt improved agricultural technologies or practices in 2012, increased the value of commodity exports by $84 million, and helped bring almost 4 million hectares of farmland under better cultivation.

Feed the Future highlights these and other accomplishments in its progress report released June 28. Feed the Future is the U.S. initiative created in 2009 to support global food security and nutrition by focusing on cost-effective results and by aligning with country-led plans to generate economic growth. With a focus on small-holder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future engages the private sector, citizen groups and the research community.

The report notes that in 2012 Feed the Future forged more than 660 public-private partnerships to improve food security and generated $150 million in agricultural and rural loans. Overall, the program has reached 9 million households through increased farm yields and better nutrition.

“Our efforts to date have put food security and nutrition back on the global development agenda,” the report states.

Looking ahead, the report says that in five years Feed the Future aims to reduce poverty and child stunting by 20 percent. The program seeks to build resilience to reduce the number of people who are vulnerable to food-price or climate shocks or who have limited connections to local and regional markets that can provide them with sustainable incomes. It works to make growth lasting by incorporating technology and innovation.

“With our support, smallholders are producing more food, are doing so more efficiently and are able to sell their produce at better prices,” the report states. “These producers hold the key to agricultural growth and transformation.”

Feed the Future draws on the strengths of 10 administrative arms of the U.S. government.

The U.S. Agency for International Development provides the program with overall leadership. USAID also contributes to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) administered by the World Bank. The United States spearheaded the creation of GAFSP following the 2007–2008 spike in food prices to help the world’s poorest farmers grow and earn more so they can lift themselves out of poverty.The Department of State uses diplomacy to coordinate and increase resources from other donors and to advance policy reforms. The Millennium Challenge Corporation supports country requests for assistance with infrastructure improvement, land policy reform and business training. The Peace Corps dedicates volunteers to support community economic development projects in agriculture, the environment and nutrition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture supports agricultural research and extension, and economic and market analysis. The U.S. African Development Foundation builds the capacity of farmer and food processor associations and helps expand rural economies.

The Department of Commerce supports trade and investment in the 19 focus countries and provides weather and climate forecasting. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation also supports investment through insurance, debt financing and support for private equity funds.

The other two agencies involved are the Department of Treasury, which coordinates multilateral development bank support, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which works on trade and investment policy.

“Feed the Future was born of the belief that global hunger is solvable,” Secretary of State John Kerry writes in the report’s introduction. “We have come a long way in a short time, but we must keep up the effort.”

The report concludes: “By catalyzing and enabling efforts of responsible national and local institutions, private organizations and businesses and civil societies, we will succeed in making our generation’s legacy one in which hunger, poverty and under-nutrition are replaced by shared prosperity and progress.”

The 19 Feed the Future focus countries are Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Uganda and Zambia.