Since coming into office in the midst of a global financial and food crisis, President Obama has made food security a foreign policy priority. Building on commitments first made by African leaders at the African Union (AU) Summit in Maputo in 2003, the President led the G-8 in 2009 in launching a global food security initiative in L’Aquila, Italy and then shortly after launched Feed the Future which invests assistance in countries’ national food security plans, promotes agricultural research and innovation, and helps build the capacity of our partners. Three years later, when he hosted the 2012 G-8 at Camp David, the President joined with the G-8 and African Leaders, the African Union Commission (AUC) and private industry to launch the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition with a goal to lift 50 million people out of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2022.
This year, the AU revisited its 2003 commitments and declared 2014 the Year of Agriculture and Food Security. At the AU Summit in Malabo in June, African leaders agreed to accelerate agricultural growth as the primary strategy to end poverty in Africa, to reduce vulnerability to climate and weather related risk, to mainstream resilience and risk management, and to end hunger in Africa by 2025 through commitments that include reducing childhood stunting. At the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit the AUC shared its plans for a Roadmap to implement the Malabo Declaration’s commitments, including actions to build resilience to climate and weather-related risks through Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA). The United States affirmed our support and offered continued technical assistance to incorporate CSA into national and regional plans and use climate data, modeling and training to assist countries in adopting CSA approaches. The United States further commits to provide technical support to strengthen the AU Commission’s and national efforts to economically empower women in agriculture. Further, in support of our shared food security agenda this week the United States has:
- Announced – in partnership with the AUC – more than 10 billion in planned socially responsible private sector investments through the New Alliance.
- Committed to train young people with 1,300 fellowships and long-term training opportunities through a range of Feed the Future Programs.
- Sierra Leone, the Ghana Open Data Initiative, IBM, and Kellogg Company announced they would join the United States as partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. GODAN supports global efforts to make agricultural and nutritional data available and accessible for unrestricted use worldwide; and
- Invested $1 million in the World Bank’s Agricultural Insurance Development Program (AIDP). This grant will provide analysis and technical assistance to countries to design and implement sustainable, cost-effective public private partnerships in agricultural insurance in order to increase the financial resilience of rural households.
Additionally, together with African leaders, the United States has played a central role in the foundation of and has expressed an intention to join the global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (ACSA) slated for launch at the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September 2014. This global alliance will embrace the fundamental aspirations of climate-smart agriculture: sustainably improving productivity, building resilience, and reducing and removing greenhouse gases.
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition expands private sector investment and public-private partnerships for smallholder farming to reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under the New Alliance, international and local private sector partners outline their intentions to invest responsibly in New Alliance countries’ agriculture sectors; member countries commit to undertake policy actions to attract private investment; and G-7 and other donors make funding commitments. Today, the 2013-2014 Progress Report for the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will be released in conjunction with a new website (www.new-alliance.org). In its first two years, the New Alliance has expanded to include 10 African countries and 180 companies (the majority of which are African). In addition more than $10 billion in socially responsible private sector commitments, the New Alliance has resulted in:
- $1.1 billion in private commitments realized;
- 3 million smallholders reached through services, training, sourcing or production contracts;
- Nearly 37,000 jobs created; and
- Country-led and country-right reforms: in Ethiopia, private sector investment has encouraged the government to liberalize its seed sector; Nigeria has reformed an inefficient fertilizer sector; Tanzania has removed its export ban; Burkina Faso passed two significant laws governing public-private partnership; and Rwanda has strengthened its focus on addressing malnutrition and supporting farmer cooperatives.
Feed the Future
Feed the Future is the President’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers and building on countries comprehensive food security plans, Feed the Future is driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, other donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. particularly women, and building on the standard set by the AU when its members committed to develop comprehensive food security plans, Feed the Future is driven by country-led priorities and rooted in partnership with governments, other donor organizations, the private sector, and civil society to enable long-term success. Feed the Future is also investing in support of a goal to reduce the prevalence of poverty and stunting in the areas where it works by twenty percent. In June, Feed the Future released its 2014 Progress Report (www.feedthefuture.gov/progress). In 12 African countries (of 19 worldwide), Feed the Future has:
- Helped nearly 1.8 million farmers in Africa (7 million globally) apply new technologies such as high-yielding seed varieties on about 3.7 million acres of land;
- Reached 9.4 million children on the continent (12.5 million globally) with improved nutrition to ensure they have food to fuel their minds and bodies, with a particular focus on the critical 1,000 day window from pregnancy to age two;
- More than doubled United States agricultural research investments in five years: deployed more than 34 drought-tolerant maize varieties and investing in 24 Feed the Future Innovation Labs, including the newest lab at Purdue University, which is focused on reducing food waste and post-harvest loss; and
- Announced a new commitment to provide technical support to strengthen the AU Commission’s and country governments’ efforts to economically empower women in agriculture. In 2013 alone, Feed the Future, the President’s global hunger and food security initiative, helped nearly 1.8 million farmers in Africa (more than 700,000 of them women) apply new practices and technologies that have the potential to lift them out of poverty.
A Whole of Government Approach
Led for the United States by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Feed the Future and the New Alliance draw on the agricultural, trade, investment, development and policy resources and expertise of 10 federal agencies:
- The U.S. African Development Foundation’s food security programs have helped create more than $21 million in new economic activities that directly benefitted more than 125,000 smallholders and their families;
- More than 1,200 Peace Corps Volunteers are working to help people make sustainable changes in how they cultivate their food, address water shortages and feed their families;
- USDA launched the U.S. Government’s open agriculture data initiative, assessed or improved statistical systems in six Feed the Future focus countries, and trained more than 145,000 food producers in improved agricultural practices, including food safety.
- The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has moved forward on Compacts in Feed the Future focus countries Mozambique, Tanzania and Senegal, investing in agriculture, land tenure and roads, and is developing a Compact with Liberia. MCC also works in Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger—New Alliance countries–where investments include irrigation, land tenure and roads. In Morocco, the five-year MCC compact concluded in September 2013. Programs in key sectors such as agriculture and fisheries were hailed for their success in reducing poverty while assuring greater food security in Morocco.
- The Treasury Department coordinates the United States government support for the World Bank’s Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). GAFSP issued an additional $255 million in grants and invested approximately $50 million in small- and medium-sized agribusinesses in 2013, bringing its total multilateral funding to $961 million in private and public investments and advisory services in 31 countries.
- The Department of State, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and others helped foster major policy changes that support global and local food security goals. The U.S. Department of State established Feed the Future Strategic Partnerships with Brazil, India, and South Africa. Under Strategic Partnerships, the United States and Strategic Partner countries develop and implement joint food and nutrition security-related projects in FTF countries; strengthen historical U.S. linkages with emerging market countries, particularly in multilateral and regional fora; and help improve Strategic Partners’ own overseas development assistance projects.