Washington, D.C. - Today at an event on Capitol Hill, Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, announced that developing countries are making substantial progress against global hunger, poverty and malnutrition, thanks in part to U.S. Government support. In 2014 alone, Feed the Future reached nearly 19 million households and helped nearly 7 million farmers gain access to new tools and technologies. New data demonstrate that, through Feed the Future and other U.S. Government efforts, childhood stunting rates have declined in Ethiopia, Ghana, and parts of Kenya by between 9 and 33 percent in recent years, while areas in Uganda have seen a 16 percent drop in poverty. In Honduras, Feed the Future is helping reduce both poverty and stunting among its program participants.
Today's event, co-hosted by NGO alliance InterAction, explored the challenges and benefits of effectively leveraging the strengths of a variety of U.S. Government agencies and how the initiative builds enduring partnerships in the fight against global hunger and poverty. The session featured the unique perspectives of representative from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which leads the Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Peace Corps, and civil society. Senator Bob Casey (PA), Senator Johnny Isakson (GA), and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman also made remarks in support of Feed the Future's efforts.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Associate Administrator Eric Postel said "Through Feed the Future, the United States is partnering across borders and across sectors to unlock the transformative potential of agriculture. This global effort is empowering rural farming families to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger, and the results are clear. From Asia to the Caribbean to Africa, Feed the Future is helping raise crop yields and incomes, reduce stunting and poverty, and improve child nutrition. Going forward, USAID and our partners will continue working to ensure everyone has the nutritious food they need to lead full, healthy lives."
Additional highlights from the event included a panel discussion including a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who had worked to build food security among resource-poor communities in Senegal, a returned volunteer from USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program who had helped train low-income Ghanaian farmers on financing, and a female agricultural researcher from Rwanda who is currently a USDA-funded Borlaug Fellow researching food safety-related issues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The report released today featured stories of those benefitting from Feed the Future activities throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. In partnership with host country governments and other development partners, Feed the Future is contributing to impacts in stunting and poverty:
In Cambodia, data show a 21 percent reduction in childhood stunting.
In Bangladesh, there was a 14.4 percent reduction in childhood stunting across the two major regions where Feed the Future programs are concentrated. According to preliminary estimates, Bangladesh has experienced a nearly 16 percent reduction in poverty in areas where Feed the Future works.
In Honduras, incomes of Feed the Future beneficiaries increased by an average of 55 percent, and incomes for extremely poor families --approximately 125,000 people-- nearly doubled.
In Haiti, a quarter of a million children under age 5 received vitamin A supplements through Feed the Future, and more than half a million children were reached with nutrition programming.
Through partnerships with governments, civil society, development partners, universities and the private sector, Feed the Future will continue working to not only connect more people to the global economy, but to ensure that everyone has enough nutritious food to eat - therefore reducing the risk of instability and turmoil often driven by lack of access to food.
Additional impact data and results from Feed the Future focus countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean can be found at www.feedthefuture.gov/progress2015.
Here is what U.S. government and civil society leaders had to say:
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member- Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops and Agriculture "Investing in food security in the developing world is an investment in our national security. Feed the Future builds on partnerships between the U.S and host nation governments, the public and private sectors, and assistance providers and farmers. It's already paid dividends for women and smallholder farmers in developing communities, and the Congress needs to pass the Global Food Security Act to ensure this life-saving works is expanded and improved upon."
Sam Worthington, President & CEO of InterAction "Global food security and nutrition programs help families and farmers everywhere build the foundations for more independent and prosperous lives, and programs like Feed the Future are leading the way. InterAction applauds the longstanding tradition of U.S. bipartisan leadership our nation has demonstrated in the fight against global hunger and malnutrition. We look forward to working with allies in Congress and the administration to ensure that the Feed the Future initiative continues its work to empower smallholder farmers for many years to come."
Dan Glickman, Co-chair, Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture "Global food insecurity is a solvable problem, and this is a crucial time to highlight the importance of collaborative efforts within the Feed the Future initiative. US efforts to provide technical expertise to develop sustainable agricultural practices internationally provides the U.S. with greater national security and economic growth in addition to increasing nutritional content and agricultural output within developing countries."
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Peace Corps Director "Feed the Future has made an incredible impact in helping vulnerable communities address food security and is a leading example of what is possible when we embrace a whole-of-government approach in tackling pressing development challenges. Because of our partnership with USAID, Peace Corps volunteers and staff are now more better-equipped than ever to help our host countries build capacity, change behaviors, offer resources and make sustainable change."