Promoting Food Security Worldwide: A U.S. Commitment

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
January 23, 2009

"To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds."  — President Barack Obama

The United States is on track to provide over $5.5 billion – far more than any other single country – to fight global hunger in 2008 and 2009. Because food security is an international issue requiring an international response, the United States is coordinating closely with the United Nations, the G8, the World Bank, and other international partners.

The United States Supports Food Security through:

  • Immediate humanitarian response targeting countries made most vulnerable to hunger.
  • Development assistance to attack the underlying causes of food insecurity.
  • Advocacy and negotiations to expand international trade opportunities and facilitate the use of advanced agricultural technologies.

An International Response

The United States has taken a leadership role in addressing food security and actively engages with international partners to create an international policy environment that promotes a strong global market for agriculture. This includes encouraging countries to eliminate harmful export restrictions and other market-distorting measures that exacerbate global food insecurity.

Targeted Assistance

U.S. humanitarian assistance focuses on the most vulnerable countries, where food prices rose sharply and remain higher than global prices, where poverty levels are high, where safety nets are weak and where people are highly dependent on food imports.

Efforts to increase food production and regional trade of food staples are initially targeting countries and programs in Africa. These efforts have the potential to:

  • Increase rapidly the staple food supply in target countries ?¡?¡and in neighboring countries through increased productivity and trade;
  • Improve vulnerable populations’ access to food by increasing ?¡?¡jobs and incomes derived from food production, marketing and distribution;
  • Leverage significant investments from other sources, ?¡?¡including the private sector.

U.S. Support for Agricultural Development

  • The United States has actively supported the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) with approximately $200 million in programming annually.
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) works to develop programs and policies that open up markets to agricultural trade, improve infrastructure, support small-scale farmers, provide safety nets to the most vulnerable groups, and exploit technological advances.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has allocated over $3.2 billion worldwide in rural infrastructure, training, financing and land reform programs to help partner countries increase agricultural production and market access.

Longer Term Solutions

Investments in science and technology are essential to addressing food insecurity. Key innovations include improved post-harvest management techniques and increased plantings of drought-tolerant crops. Removing barriers to trade in technologically advanced crops, including those produced through biotechnology, will promote investment and speed progress in reducing hunger and stabilizing food markets.

U.S. Department of State • Bureauof Public Affairs • 1/23/09