"To put it bluntly, the state of food
insecurity in the world is not good." So begins the 2002 United Nations
Food and Agriculture's Organization's (FAO) review of global food security
status and trends. At the same time, there has been some success in reducing
poverty and malnutrition during the 1990s, and the importance of such progress
should not be underestimated. The United States Agency for International
Development (USAID), through programmatic improvements based on the 1995
Food Aid and Food Security Policy, played an important role in these relative
successes. These programmatic improvements included: an emphasis on targeting
the most food insecure countries; a focus on enhancing agricultural productivity
and improving household nutrition; and collaboration with local and international
research institutions to expand technical capacity.
However, progress in reducing food insecurity
has been very uneven across the developing world, with some countries in
all regions losing ground. And, there is evidence that the momentum for
change initiated in the 1990s has stalled and progress will likely be harder
to achieve in the future.
This paper, commissioned to support
the development of the Office of Food for Peace's new Strategic Plan, analyzes
the implications of these trends in poverty and malnutrition for USAID
food security programming.