May Flowers Bring Food Security Results

May 21, 2014 By Ashley E. (Chandler) Chang

‘Budget Allocation Season’ is once again in full bloom in the District, and this year’s April showers brought May flowers and a bouquet of numbers about the results we’re seeing in the battle to end global hunger. Feed the Future just released its Progress Report, which has, as USAID Administrator Shah told The New York Times, “real numbers for the first time.” And they’re pretty impressive:

7 million

Last year, Feed the Future taught seven million famers how to provide for their families and their communities with new technologies and practices that will boost their harvests across more than 15,000 square miles of land.

To put this number in perspective, this is nearly a fourfold increase from the number of farmers empowered from the time the program was launched in 2009 through 2012.

12.5 million

In collaboration with the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future also provided 12.5 million children with nutritional interventions last year – preventing them from going hungry and giving them the hope of “a stronger and more successful future.”

In addition, over 90,000 women farmers received support for homestead gardening, advancing one of the initiative’s “top-level goals” to increase families’ access to better nutrition and food.

160 million

The U.S. government leveraged more than $160 million in private sector investment last year – a 40% increase from 2012 – as partnerships are a central component of Feed the Future.

The report demonstrates how Feed the Future’s “new model for development” is tapping into innovations in technology, alongside proven agricultural methods, and leveraging U.S. Government funding through partnerships.

American companies from DuPont, Cargill, and Land O’Lakes to Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Walmart, and others invest in Feed the Future programs not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because building more productive communities helps expand and strengthen their value chains.

As Land O’Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski put it, “a better fed world makes for a better world.” (aka, win-win!)

But it’s not just businesses that are getting behind the Feed the Future movement. Seventy U.S. universities and research institutions are driving innovative solutions to combat global hunger through the 23 Innovation Labs currently up and running in over a dozen states.

And in a groundbreaking move, InterAction Executive Director Sam Worthington and Administrator Shah signed the first of its kind memorandum of understanding with USAID and Feed the Future on Mondaym May 19th. The agreement, which builds upon a 2013 pledge, commits 33 InterAction member NGOs to spend $1.5 billion in private funds to “advance food security, agriculture, and nutrition” by the end of 2015.

Clearly, it’s been a big week in the food security world, and it’s not over yet.

Today is the third and final day of Feed the Future’s first-ever Global Forum, during which leaders from across the United States and overseas have gathered to discuss what’s worked, what hasn’t, and to “map out how to accelerate progress” in the coming decades.

And tomorrow, the Chicago Council will host its annual Food Security Symposium, featuring an array of policy, business, and civil society heavy weights to help “chart a course” forward for the U.S. government and its partners.

Because the central driving force behind both of these food security events are another set of numbers:

3.1 million

This is the number of children die who die every year from undernutrition-related causes, which is 45% of the total worldwide, by the way.

842 million

One in eight people in the world will go to sleep hungry tonight.

The good news is modern farming has figured out how to develop three times as many crops on existing land. But Feed the Futures low-cost solutions wouldn’t benefit the millions of farmers who need it most without American development assistance.

So let’s continue to plough ahead to put an end to the global threat of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty!