The United States is committed to the promotion of global food security through its international food assistance and other foreign assistance programs. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, the United States provided more than $2.9 billion of food assistance to developing countries approximately 2.8 million metric tons, reaching over 70 million people worldwide. The following summary shows U.S. food assistance, by legislative authority, for FY 2009.
More than one billion people – nearly a sixth of the world’s population – suffer from chronic hunger. It is a crisis with devastating and far-reaching effects. Hunger weakens immune systems and stunts child development. Half of all child deaths in the developing world are related to undernutrition. Chronic hunger and undernutrition primarily result from poverty – people who are poor often simply cannot afford to buy food. Hungry families spend over half their income to buy the food they need to survive. Food often cannot travel from surplus to deficit regions within and across countries because of poor roads, barriers at borders and checkpoints along the way. Without enough food, adults struggle to work and children struggle to learn, making sustainable economic development difficult to achieve.
Ensuring global food security will only become more challenging in the future as demand for food is projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years. Increased demand will come primarily from population growth in the developing world and income growth in middle-income countries. Growth in agricultural productivity, which is already lagging globally, also faces increasing threats from climate change, scarce water supplies, and competition for energy resources from industry and urbanization.
Addressing these issues will require a whole-of-government approach, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working closely with the U.S. State Department and other U.S. government agencies to develop the Administration’s new Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, "Feed the Future." The focus and coordination promoted in this initiative will strengthen all U.S. Government (USG) food security programming, including USG food assistance. By targeting the poorest of the poor and better integrating food aid programs into larger – often multilateral – efforts, USAID and USDA food assistance programs are aiming to improve the effectiveness of food aid and increase its contribution to global targets for reducing hunger, malnutrition and poverty.