Food Security Takes the Stage on Capitol Hill

October 29, 2009 By Jordan Smith

Earlier today, the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health held a hearing on the Obama Administration’s food security initiative. Witnesses included Helene Gayle, CEO of CARE—a USGLC Global Trust Member; and David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World—a USGLC Leadership Circle member.

Each witness agreed on the urgency of solving the problem of global hunger, and on the important role of the United States in developing and implementing effective solutions. They urged Congress to take an active stance on food security initiatives and to address the issues surrounding the U.S. foreign assistance system. The witnesses stressed the important difference of not only allocating monetary aid, but also teaching aid recipients the skills necessary to ensure economic growth and development.

“The United States has a tremendous opportunity to play a leading role in this challenge,” said Helene Gayle. “To be successful, our food security efforts must be comprehensive. From CARE’s perspective, global food security is not only about agricultural development, it is also about the empowerment of women, and ensuring that we are flexible in our food assistance programs.”

The issue of food security presents problems for U.S. assistance programs as the jurisdiction for solving hunger touches so many committees and there is no ultimate point person to coordinate efforts. Witnesses said the government must take a smart, whole-of-government and interagency approach in order to combat food security and end global hunger.

Gayle concluded her remarks by saying this is “an opportunity to make an extraordinary difference throughout the world by taking bold action to advance a comprehensive Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. While this is an exceptional global challenge, to quote Secretary Clinton: ‘The question is not whether we can end hunger, it’s whether we will.’ The time to act is now.”