After a three-decade long decline in global agriculture investment and a spike in global food prices in 2007 and 2008, President Obama rallied world leaders at the G-8 meeting in 2009, calling for renewed investment in international agriculture that would boost food security and nutrition. Recognizing that agriculture is at least two times as effective at reducing poverty as other industries, President Obama pledged to do more to advance global food security, building on resources allocated during the George W. Bush Administration.
Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, was born out of this new commitment. Since 2009, Feed the Future and related U.S. Government efforts have demonstrated that this new model of development is working. In FY 2014 alone, Feed the Future and its partners helped nearly 7 million smallholder farmers adopt and use improved tools and technologies, reached more than 12 million children to improve their nutrition, and helped farmers boost agricultural sales by more than half a billion dollars to increase their incomes. Read on to see how partners throughout the U.S. Government have made major contributions to meaningful progress against hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in 2015.
U.S. Government leadership, focused through President Obama's Feed the Future initiative, is helping farmers and their families flourish and enabling us to meet tomorrow's food security challenges. The successes realized by millions of farmers across the world reached by Feed the Future and other U.S. Government-led efforts are contributing to substantial reductions in poverty and stunting. We've made an enormous difference thus far and must continue to make investing in agriculture a long-term priority as we hone our approach and take it to scale.
Together with our partners, we're proud to be writing a new chapter for the nearly 800 million people around the world who go to bed hungry every night. Building on the leadership and commitment of both the Bush and Obama administrations, these shared endeavors have reached millions of people whose individual stories of success add up to meaningful impact on a large scale. Our coordinated efforts have significantly contributed to progress that, if sustained, will transform the futures of generations to come.
Feed the Future is playing a vital role in answering the call to end hunger, poverty, and malnutrition, but we know that the path to global food security cannot be forged by governments alone. To achieve sustainable solutions that will feed a growing population, we're engaging our partners, especially those in the private sector, in new and impactful ways. Through U.S. leadership and partner collaboration, we will continue to foster growth in emerging markets, a fundamental component of reducing poverty, fighting hunger, and improving nutrition.
While 795 million people in the world still go to bed hungry every night, the number has dropped by more than 167 million in the last decade, due in large part to strong leadership and momentum across the globe to fight hunger and malnutrition. In countries supported by Feed the Future and other large-scale U.S. Government efforts, local capacity to support food security, agricultural productivity and good nutrition continue to grow stronger, while new commitments to food security should help ensure that more and more individual smallholder farmers will continue to contribute to - and benefit from - participation in the global economy.
In December, thanks to the support of the U.S. Senate, USAID welcomed its 17th Administrator, Gayle E. Smith, a former national security aide to President Obama and leading expert on humanitarian disaster relief. Administrator Smith's career spans more than 20 years working on development issues across the world, and includes a wealth of experience in driving forward international development strategies. Feed the Future welcomes Administrator Smith, an instrumental supporter of the initiative from the start.
According to an assessment released by the U.S. intelligence community in October, the overall risk of food insecurity in many countries of strategic importance to the United States will increase during the next ten years because of production, transport and market disruptions to local food availability, lower purchasing power and counterproductive government policies. Feed the Future's approach of inclusive agriculture-led growth helps ensure results on a large scale by improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable communities.
This year's World Expo, also known as the world's fair, was held in Milan, Italy, with the theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." The event brought together 145 countries from around the world to tackle a vital question: How do we feed nine billion people by 2050? Speaking the day after World Food Day, Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the interrelated challenges of food insecurity and global climate change.
Estimates predict that the world will have to increase global food production by at least 60 percent between now and 2050 to keep pace with a growing population. As Secretary Kerry noted, and a new report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirms, the challenge of feeding the world is further complicated by climate variability and increasingly frequent weather extremes. As climate prediction models indicate the need to prepare for the impacts of climate change on agriculture, Feed the Future and related U.S. Government food security efforts continue to emphasize climate-smart agriculture. By integrating new technologies, improved resource management practices, better information, and more efficient post-harvest handling and markets, climate-smart agriculture will ensure our efforts to sustainably reduce hunger, poverty, and malnutrition are even more effective.
Throughout 2015, the Department of State's Office of Global Food Security worked to advance two important food security issues: food insecurity in urban areas, and climate-smart agriculture. In September, on the margins of the UN General Assembly, the State Department partnered with global design company IDEO to bring together global food security policy experts to brainstorm innovative ways to address urban food security, while also launching Project 8, which will serve as a data aggregation platform for data on hunger and malnutrition in cities.
In partnership with USDA, USAID, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the State Department played a key role in the Enabling Environment Action Group of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), leading the GACSA country case study on Costa Rica, one of six countries that will be highlighted for their actions on climate-smart agriculture at the GACSA Annual Forum in early 2016. In addition, through COAST (Caribbean Oceans and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility), the Department of State is leading a collaborative effort to increase access to climate-risk insurance as a means of improving food security within the fisheries sector. COAST will provide as many as 180,000 fisherfolk and workers in the Caribbean access to insurance for losses from severe weather as well as providing incentives for risk reduction related to climate-smart food security strategy.
During an historic trip to Africa in July, President Obama announced that Feed the Future is delivering on his inauguration promise to work with developing nations "to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow." During a tour of Ethiopian food processor Faffa Foods, a factory supported by Feed the Future through a partnership with U.S. businesses, the President highlighted progress across the continent made through Feed the Future and other U.S. Government efforts, noting that 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.
After his tour, the President met with Gifty, an Ethiopian smallholder farmer who is now able to support her family with the help of Feed the Future. Gifty is one among millions of smallholders who illustrate the story behind Feed the Future's impact. To read more about how Feed the Future supports smallholder farmers across the world, explore the 2015 Feed the Future Progress Report.
New results, released in our 2015 Feed the Future Progress Report, signal that Feed the Future is working. In addition to helping millions of smallholders improve their yields and incomes and helping families — particularly mothers and young children — improve nutrition, new data show that Feed the Future and related U.S. Government efforts are contributing to downward trends in poverty and malnutrition. These results suggest that Feed the Future can meet its ambitious goal of reducing poverty and stunting by an average of 20 percent across the areas where the initiative works.
In October, Feed the Future co-hosted an event on Capitol Hill with InterAction to discuss the value of partnerships in addressing food security, and to release new data from the Latin America and Caribbean and Asia chapters of the 2015 Progress Report. With remarks from both Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), sponsors of the Global Food Security Act, the event highlighted the benefits — both global and here at home — of investing in food security and building on Feed the Future's promising results.
In the midst of the Ebola crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, another less visible crisis arose -- food insecurity. With markets closed, movement restricted, and trade disrupted, many households in the region began to experience new or increased food insecurity.
Since the onset of the outbreak in 2014, USAID's Office of Food for Peace adjusted programming by incorporating Ebola-focused messaging on prevention and treatment, training health workers on infection control and prevention, providing sanitation and hygiene materials to households and places of business, and equipping governments' ministries of health to better fight the disease. Meanwhile, earlier Feed the Future and USAID Office of Food for Peace investments proved vital to mitigating some of the secondary impacts of the outbreak. Many farmers who had benefited from Feed the Future support were able to sell over 340 metric tons of rice to the U.N. World Food Program for emergency distribution — helping their neighbors and supporting faster access than imported food aid alone would have provided, while pooling incomes to help sustain their own livelihoods in a time of uncertainty.
Using a mix of targeted cash, food vouchers, and in-kind food assistance, Food for Peace is helping communities recover well into the future. As Ebola is contained, Food for Peace activities will continue to contribute to and complement Feed the Future efforts to accelerate the recovery of health and agricultural systems in Ebola-affected countries.
In response to the 2007-2008 global food crisis, the U.S. Department of the Treasury played a key role in developing the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), an innovative multi-donor trust fund housed at the World Bank. Since its founding, GAFSP has allocated approximately $1.4 billion to 25 low-income countries to support their efforts to improve food security for smallholder farmers and their families.
In Bangladesh, 226,295 farmers, 39 percent of whom are women, have adopted various crop, livestock, and fisheries technologies being promoted by the Integrated Agricultural Productivity Project, and fish production has increased by more than 50 percent. In Ethiopia, more than 146,000 farmers have already adopted the crop and livestock technologies promoted by the Agricultural Growth Project. And in Togo, Rwanda, and Malawi, GAFSP programs are improving food security and incomes of smallholder farmers through sustainable agriculture practices, expanding access to finance, and agriculture extension services.
To ensure Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Benin are well-equipped to improve nutrition in their communities, West Africa's Food Security Coordinator for the U.S. Peace Corps in Benin worked together with partners to design a training package for PCVs supporting the Feed the Future Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally Project. The Essential Nutrition Actions training package provides the tools PCVs need to confidently discuss nutrition with community members. Peace Corps Volunteers from all sectors — health, agriculture, and community economic development — will receive the training package, ensuring that nutrition messaging can be incorporated into any activity, with the potential to ultimately reach more people.
This fall, USAID awarded the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences a $49 million, five-year cooperative agreement to establish the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. This newest Feed the Future Innovation Lab will improve livestock productivity and the incomes and nutrition of livestock holders through appropriate improved technologies, capacity building, and enabling policies. By joining the ranks of the science-based Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the award will strengthen global engagement at the University of Florida and allow the institution to better assist developing nations in addressing poverty and hunger.
Through the Feed the Future Innovation Labs, USAID is working with the world's leading universities to scale up proven technologies and activities, expand nutrition interventions and programs, and conduct research to create the next generation of innovations that can change the lives of food producers and their families.
MCC's $262 million Compact with Moldova funded the rehabilitation of 10 pumping stations to improve the quantity and quality of irrigation water for more than 37,000 acres, while expanding access to agricultural loans to help farmers invest in their farms. In partnership with the Government of Moldova, MCC is improving key agricultural policies and helping Moldovan producers better market their products to regional and overseas markets.
In Senegal, MCC's $540 million Compact is giving the country's farmers reason to hope. The Compact, which will upgrade the Senegal River irrigation systems, is designed to boost economic growth by unlocking the country's agricultural productivity and expanding access to markets and services by investing in roads and irrigation networks. MCC is working closely with SAED (Société Nationale d'Aménagement et d'Exploitation des Terres du Delta), the agency providing irrigation water supply and drainage services in the region, to ensure the project's sustainability and efficiency.
In Indonesia, the Compact's $332.5 million Sustainable Cocoa Partnership Grant, under MCC's Green Prosperity Project, is working to increase agricultural productivity and reduce reliance on fossil fuels by expanding renewable energy, and to increase productivity and reduce land-based greenhouse gas emissions by improving land use practices and management of natural resources. In partnership with Swisscontact Consortium, the activity will add value not only to cocoa production, but will also spur the rise of the local cocoa manufacturing industry.
The Peace Corps is one of 11 federal departments and agencies contributing to Feed the Future, with more than 3,500 Peace Corps volunteers in 55 countries working to bring important food security messaging and practices to their communities. Check out the Peace Crops food security infographic, released to commemorate World Food Day, celebrating the thousands of volunteers across the world who are working with their communities, local organizations, and host country governments to ensure every family has enough food for a healthy life.
At the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, food security leaders from the public, private, and NGO sectors met to define an approach for mobilizing financial resources for sustainable development. As part of the conference, the U.S. Government and the African Union Commission hosted an event, "Leadership and Partnership to Achieve Global Food Security," to discuss how to best leverage partnerships to fight food security and malnutrition. Recognizing Feed the Future's proven approach in working with partners across a variety of sectors, global leaders affirmed their support of a country-driven model for food security that includes a cross section of government, NGO, and private sector partners.
The U.S. Government made several pledges during the conference, including increased support for global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable worldwide, underscoring its commitment to open data and access. As a cornerstone of this support, the United States will expand and deepen its commitment to the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. Along with the governments of Kenya and the United Kingdom, the ONE Campaign, and Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH), the United States also announced plans for a 2016 GODAN Summit, scheduled to take place in September 2016.
In late September, USAID then-Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt delivered remarks at the UN General Assembly to highlight how USAID will help lead the new approach to financing and development to end extreme poverty and achieve the Global Goals, or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), several of which aim to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. In December, in a show of commitment to addressing the challenges of climate change, leaders at COP21 agreed to the Paris Agreement, taking a first step toward a more sustainable future.
Reaching the new SDGs will require close collaboration between governments, private sector partners, and others. For example, DuPont and USAID have already teamed up to advance sustainable agriculture through projects such as the Advanced Maize Seed Adoption Program, a collaboration that provides sample seeds and high-quality inputs to farmers in Ethiopia. Through a shared commitment to innovation to tackle global food security, public-private partnerships such as these will ensure our efforts are contributing to the achievement of the SDGs.
In early 2015, the Women's Empowerment Agriculture Index (WEAI) marked its three-year anniversary. Designed in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, the WEAI is designed to measure women's empowerment and inclusion in agriculture, a field in which women too often suffer from lack of access to land, financial services, credit, and purchasing power. The WEAI has already proven invaluable to both governments and agriculture experts. For those looking for a more streamlined tool to use, Feed the Future and its partners developed the Abbreviated WEAI, or A-WEAI, a simpler alternative that requires less field time for data collection and is easily integrated into large surveys. The A-WEAI packs the same punch, and can equip agriculture experts and policy makers with the evidence they need to increase agricultural opportunities for women.
This year's World Food Prize honored Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC, the world's largest NGO and one of the leading organizations dedicated to advancing gender equality and women's empowerment in agriculture. Women, who comprise 43 percent of the global agricultural workforce, can play a fundamental role in agriculture and are increasingly vital to meeting the world's demand to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Through Feed the Future and related programs, the U.S. Government continues to support women's advancement in an effort to create resilient and economically flourishing societies.
Agriculture has been critical to America's growth as a nation, and today, demonstrating our continued commitment to agriculture globally through Feed the Future is one of the most important and successful ways America is leading in the world. As we connect more farmers abroad to the global economy, our work brings benefits back home, too, generating knowledge to help America's farmers stay ahead of new pests and diseases, boosting incomes in developing countries and increasing demand for U.S. products, and reducing the risk of instability and turmoil often driven by a lack of access to food.
Today more than ever, through Feed the Future's whole-of-government approach, we're one step closer to a world without hunger. Thanks to all of our supporters and partners for a momentous year of progress.