Meeting the President's Challenge To End Extreme Poverty

February 17, 2013
Harvesting Maize in Kenya

About the Authors: Jonathan Shrier serves as Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security and Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy for Feed the Future, and Lona Stoll serves as Acting Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a challenge for our generation to eradicate the scourge of extreme poverty. We are advancing this critical agenda through Feed the Future, the President's signature global hunger and food security initiative. Here, we examine how.

In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. By standard definition, this means less than $1.25 a day. That won't buy a latte, let alone a healthy lunch here in the United States. Hunger and poverty are inextricably linked. Through Feed the Future, we're working to achieve the President's vision to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in our lifetime. This is our generation's legacy to leave. And reducing poverty is more than just a goal: It's achievable, and we are already seeing results.

Since 2009, Feed the Future has supported agriculture-led growth in 19 focus countries, with investments that will lift 20 percent of the people in our targeted areas out of poverty in three years. Agricultural growth is an incredibly effective way to fight poverty -- 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas in developing countries, where most people's livelihoods rely directly on agriculture, and studies show that growth in the agricultural sector has up to three times greater impact on poverty reduction than growth in other sectors.

And Feed the Future is showing results. We have improved farmers' access to key technologies that we know transform their lives, increasing yields and incomes. In 2011 alone, we helped nearly 2 million food producers adopt improved technologies and practices to improve their yields, and our efforts to integrate agriculture and nutrition mean that healthier harvests can also mean better market opportunities.

We're strategically targeting our investments in countries where our support can have the greatest impact. We're aligning our investments behind food security and nutrition priorities our partner countries have identified, and we're helping foster the growth and accountability required to ensure that this impact lasts. And because we know we don't have all the answers to reducing global poverty, we're taking a rigorous approach to figuring out what works best, so we can do more of it. We're identifying gaps in evidence and working to fill them. We're engaging with global leaders, top scientists, business leaders, and communities to share what we learn so that we can beat hunger and poverty together.

When others prosper, we prosper as well. As we've seen over time and as the President pointed out, progress against extreme poverty helps create a more stable and secure world. By helping reduce global poverty and create economic opportunities, our collaborative food security efforts generate economic growth and global stability, which ultimately benefits us all and creates a healthier, happier world.

By remaining committed to not only doing what's right, but to doing the right things well, our generation can end extreme poverty and leave a legacy of shared progress and prosperity.

Why is ending extreme poverty important to you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.Editor's Note: Go to the Feed the Future blog to read more about how our colleagues are working to meet the President's challenge.



ms n.
February 18, 2013

Ms. D.N. in India writes:

Nice post. Thank you.

Mary H.
New York, USA
February 18, 2013

Mary H. in New York writes:

Global Climatic changes, caused by CO2 emissions are a great challenge to this goal, to eradicate poverty. Divesting from fossil fuels and the agriculural abuse of our crops (gmo) and animals will have a profound effect on obtaining it.. Stop government subsides to the fossil industries and big agricultural.

California, USA
February 19, 2013

Bill in California writes:

If the Obama administration wishes to end extreme policy, then I have few questions:

1. Why continue to support the World Trade Organization's policy of penalizing nations which try to achieve food self-sufficiency?

2. Why not take action against the grain cartels and companies like Monsanto, which monopolize drought- and pest-resistant strains of seeds, making them unaffordable for poor nations?

3. Why continue to support the "conditionalities" policy of the International Monetary Fund, which penalizes poor countries who seek to build water, transport and energy infrastructure, essential to farming?

4. Why continue to support the practice of diverting agricultural output into so-called "bio-fuels," which are economically and environmentally destructive?

Charlie M.
Pennsylvania, USA
February 19, 2013

Charlie M. in Pennsylvania writes:

The government cannot save the world and end poverty on this planet. Only we, the people, uniting together with love for each other, with love for our children and all people, only we can do this. I realize that the problem seems insurmountable and how could one person make a difference. Do not think you cannot make a difference! It is this thought in the minds of hundreds of millions that prevents change. Do what YOU can do. YOU can make a difference today. Even if it is only in the life of a single child. Do what YOU can to save that child. If everyone did what each person was able, imagine what this world would be like. There would be no more hunger.

Best Regards and God Bless,

Charlie M.
Bethlehem, PA


Latest Stories