Addressing the "In" in Food Insecurity

from US Agency for International Development
Published on 01 Feb 2003
"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.