Making the Grade: U.S. Government Progress in Global Agricultural Development

Posted by Ertharin Cousin
May 26, 2011
Secretary Vilsack Delivers Remarks
Administrator Shah Delivers Remarks on the True Yields of Food Security
Ambassador Cousin and Panel Participants Discuss Global Agriculture and Food Security
Under Secretary Brainard Delivers Remarks

I am inspired by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs' gathering of America's most committed leaders from several professions to focus on global agriculture and food security. This Administration's progress stems from bi-partisan support for results-driven, country-led, multi-stakeholder collaboration. When leaders such as Congresswoman Kay Granger, Bill Gates, Catherine Bertini, and Dan Glickman put their minds together, there's no limit to the ingenuity applied to the substantial challenges we face in global agriculture and food security today.

There is no doubt that food security is vital to national security. In 2009, President Obama announced food security as a priority for the United States, and we are on track to meet our commitment of $3.5 billion over three years through the flagship U.S. global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. To do so, we take a multi-sectoral approach and build on areas where Americans have a comparative advantage. For example, we have tripled investment in agricultural research since 2008. At the Chicago Council event, Administrator Shah cited a two-thirds increase in funding for Title XII academic institutions to leverage expertise in capacity building, agricultural research and extension services, along with an intent to work through multidonor platforms seeking to strengthen lasting agricultural institutions. We invest in high impact solutions such as proven nutrition interventions that focus on women and children from pregnancy until the child's second year -- a critical 1,000 day window for cognitive and physical development.

We leverage our investments through multilateralism. Through my travel to Bangkok, I witnessed firsthand the impact of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization regional meetings on food price volatility to shift focus to knowledge-based solutions that discourage protectionist responses, such as hoarding and imposing export restrictions. We are working through the International Fund for Agricultural Development to boost investment for small holder farmer (including women) in developing countries. We are changing the way we address humanitarian assistance as well. By striving to best address of the needs of the most vulnerable and those in crisis, we have become the world's fastest responder to food emergency through partnership with the World Food Program and civil society organizations. The World Food Program's Purchase for Progress project demonstrates how markets can be created and augmented by sharing upfront knowledge and training and then stepping aside for private sector engagement. We continue to hear of new success stories around the world -- from Ethiopia to Bangladesh.

While we strive for improved policy, strengthened institutions, and stronger partnerships, this Administration has succeeded in changing the playing field in agricultural development and food security. From farmers to policymakers, there is greater global coordination and collaboration to support country-led agricultural development plans. U.S. agricultural development investment now flows through a rigorous planning and evaluation process that will provide greater transparency and accountability to American taxpayers. We are also pioneering a women's agricultural empowerment index to better track the impact of our work on women and girls. Never before have members from civil society, the private sector and government officials worked so intently to address global food security and deservedly so -- the stakes are high and will continue to rise.



Arthur T.
California, USA
May 26, 2011

Arthur T. in California writes:

NO genetically engineered foods!!

May 30, 2011

John in Canada writes:

We need more people growing in every way possible – we need laws to be abolished to provide for people to sustain their own lives.

Try raising a chicken in cities? At the same time populations are migrating to cities were they cannot sustain themselves.

We do not permit people to look after themselves – instead we force people to suckle off the state.

America 100 years ago - 90 percent of people grew something for their survival – now fewer than 5 percent grow anything

Not sure if people would want too today – perhaps if Google or apple created an app for growing food we could do something.

Some children have such a disconnect with life they don’t know where their hamburger comes from.

Take Europe for example, increasingly dependent on African produce – what will happen to Europe when weather events or geo political events prohibit the supply chain? Many Europeans will not be able to feed their own.

Why do many of our farmers live in poverty? We are dead without them! Bring back some common sense.

What will a lawyer or investment banker do for us when god forbid we can’t feed ourselves? Everyone has their place and respected boundaries..Some have forgotten their boundaries and have taken more than they need or deserve.

Why does communism fail..Some take more than they should..Why will free markets fail..Some will and have taken more than they should..Different ideologies, same result.

For all of us to survive and thrive we need fundamental change. The change needed most is to our monetary and tax systems, from this much that is both good and bad flow.


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