Spotlight on Food Security: The Key to Economic, Environmental, and Global Stability

May 11, 2012
Child Reacts After Receiving Food in Afghanistan

You may have noticed a lot of increased talk about "food security" lately, particularly in the international development realm. There's good reason for that.

A family experiences food security when it lives without hunger or even fear of hunger. In essence, it means that people have enough food to live happy, healthy lives. It's a right I'm sure we all wish were accessible to every man, woman, and child on the planet.

Yet global hunger and chronic malnutrition remain two of the greatest development challenges today. Nearly 20 percent of all people in the world live on less than $1.25 a day, and almost one billion suffer from chronic hunger. Compounding this problem is the fact that, by 2050, the global population is expected to grow to more than nine billion people, requiring up to a 70 percent increase in agricultural production to feed us all. Given increasingly limited natural resources, we'll also need to produce this additional food with less land, water, and other resources.

The challenge is indeed great, but there are opportunities for solutions. An estimated 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas, where farming can be a key economic driver. Because growth in agriculture is, on average, at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors, we already know that investments in agricultural development are fundamental to alleviating hunger and propelling long-term economic growth.

The time to accelerate these investments and growth is now. The G-8 Summit in L'Aquila, Italy and the World Food Summit in Rome in 2009 united the global community to intensify efforts to advance food security by scaling up investment in the agricultural sector, which had been suffering from extreme underinvestment for several years.

Feed the Future is the United States' contribution to this collaborative global effort, which is centered on country-owned processes to improve food security, agricultural production, nutrition, trade, and broad-based economic growth through development of the agricultural sector. We've made a lot of progress, as a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has noted. But we're only just getting started.

Three years after L'Aquila, the leaders of the G8 are preparing to meet once again, this time at the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David on May 19. This Summit is expected to build upon the food and nutrition successes of L'Aquila by focusing on creating a better environment to mobilize private sector investment as a catalyst for long-term economic growth.

Through the collective engagement of international donors, country governments, the private sector, the NGO community, and civil society organizations, we can help break the cycle of hunger and poverty so that countries can feed themselves, helping their communities to thrive. This work is important because it translates to a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future for us all.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on Feed the Future's Blog and USAID's Impact Blog.



scarlet h.
May 11, 2012

Scarlet H. in Nigeria writes:

i just wish life can be better

South Korea
May 13, 2012

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Need colony making food not major.
need colony, for the poverty, not consider profit.
in this kind of food supply system, every year making, not occur, making the victim, yes the dead.

solving this problem
we need colony
independent from major
and not consider profit, colony.

United States
May 14, 2012

Mari in the U.S.A. writes:

You article falsely claims that "we'll also need to produce this additional food with less land, water, and other resources." There is more water on this planet than we could ever possibly need, but it needs to be desalinated and/or moved to areas where it is needed. Investment should be directed into the necessary infrastructure to accomplish this. There are also vast areas of land that should be reclaimed, just as the once-lifeless Imperial Valley was reclaimed in California. Finally, the US should campaign for the repeal of disincentives to agricultural self-sufficiency, such as the World Trade Organization's penalties on countries which try to become self-sufficient in food production.


Latest Stories

February 28, 2011

DipNote: The Week in Review

Writing for the U.S. Department of State DipNote blog, Managing Editor Luke Forgerson recaps the week, including events in Libya,… more