With global food prices at an all time high, and rising, the 1 billion people around the world currently living with chronic hunger stand to get company in the coming months. That is, unless the developed world is able to help to effectively sort out and deal with the root causes of global hunger. Luckily the international community has already been working on a solution.
After the financial crisis and soaring food prices caused riots in 30 countries, the G8 decided to make addressing food insecurity a priority through investments in agricultural development. In the United States, this decision lead to the development of an agriculturally oriented initiative called Feed the Future. While shifting focus away from food aid, the United States endeavored to create a locally owned, multilaterally supported initiative committed to addressing hunger through increased agricultural output and increased trade and economic development.
In order to accomplish this goal, Feed the Future sets out on a path of collective action, leveraging the cooperation of donors, civil-society, the private sector, and the local governments. Such a cooperative model will be integral in promoting the local ownership of agricultural development projects funded through Feed the Future. Input from all stakeholders will be sure to maximize the impact of these projects through the delineation of key priorities, sustainable implementation of the projects, and the use of new and innovative technologies.
In line with Feed the Future’s key principles of local ownership and multilateral cooperation, a central component of the initiative is a multilateral fund named the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GASFP). GASFP distributes its funding (about $925 million to date) to both the public and private sectors to assist in the development of agricultural development strategies.
Working towards local ownership on a bilateral level, the United States is currently working with its targeted countries to develop an implementation plan. The U.S. is reaching out to local governments, key civil society organizations, businesses, and multilateral organizations to develop the most effective and sustainable multi-year development plan. To bolster these national agricultural plans, the U.S. is working with key regional actors to develop regional plans as a means to open markets, instigate economic growth, and address sources of hunger.
With time and a sustained investment in the locally focused and multilaterally supported Feed the Future Initiative, the Millennium Development Goals of reducing hunger and poverty are infinitely closer to being achieved.