Click here to watch the recorded broadcast of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "Promoting Global Food Security: Next Steps for Congress and the Administration."
“As we gather here on Earth Day, we must recognize that this already urgent challenge is poised to grow in the years ahead as climate change creates new strains on food supplies everywhere,” said Chairman Kerry. “This hearing comes at a moment when our International Affairs Budget is once again being challenged. Even in a tough budget environment, short-changing programs like these will deliver little budget relief at enormous cost to our global efforts, including food security. I am committed to protecting these vital programs.”
“We live in a world where more than one billion people suffer from chronic food insecurity – a figure that has increased by nearly 100 million people since Senator Casey and I introduced legislation just last year. An estimated 25,000 people die each day from malnutrition-related causes. Experts advise us that chronic hunger leads to decreased child survival, impaired cognitive and physical development of children, and weaker immune system function, including resistance to HIV/AIDS. These grave humanitarian consequences are sufficient cause for us to strengthen our approach to global food security. But we have an even bigger problem. A dangerous confluence of factors threatens to severely limit food production in some regions as the world’s population continues to expand. Between 1970 and 1990, global aggregate farm yield rose by an average of 2 percent each year. Since 1990, however, aggregate farm yield has risen by an annual average of just 1.1 percent. These trends threaten the fundamental welfare of a large share of the world’s population.”
“The strategy for Feed the Future exemplifies our new vision for development. It starts with the recognition that food security is not just about food, but it is all about security—national security, economic security, environmental security, and human security. In too many places, agriculture has deteriorated to such a degree that people cannot grow enough to feed their families or earn an income from selling their crops. Or, if they can grow the food, they have no way of transporting it to local or regional markets. As a result, in cities and villages throughout the developing world, food is at times scarce and prices can be volatile and often beyond what people can afford.”
“Members of Congress, especially members of this Committee, are determined to address this problem. Increased budgets for agriculture development and continued support for global food security legislation have brought renewed attention to how agricultural-led growth can reduce poverty and hunger. The Global Food Security Act, sponsored by Senators Lugar and Casey, captures the strong commitment of the United States to align resources behind approaches that work. I would like to personally thank you both, as well as Representatives McCollum and McGovern, for your leadership on this critical initiative. We look forward to working with you on this important legislation as it moves forward.”
“It is our firm conviction that a long-term, well-resourced commitment by the U.S. government to alleviating global food insecurity can drastically reduce global poverty, and that such a commitment is in the nation’s security, economic, and diplomatic interests. On-going U.S. leadership, at both the Executive and Congressional levels, in partnership with developing nations, other bilateral and multilateral donors, international organizations, NGOs, and private sector stakeholders, will be critical to a U.S. initiative’s success.”
Statement by The Honorable Catherine Bertini, Former Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program; Cochair, Global Agricultural Development Initiative, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
“Advancing global food security will continue to be in America’s economic, security, and diplomatic interests for the foreseeable future. Agricultural development has been demonstrated as the most effective way to alleviate rural poverty over the long-term. Nearly seventy-five percent of the world’s poor resides in rural areas and depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. Moreover, the majority of population growth projected to occur between now and 2050, and therefore much of the increase in demand for food, will take place in developing countries. Investments in agriculture and food systems reduce poverty directly by increasing farm incomes and the availability and access to food, and indirectly, by generating employment and reducing food prices. These investments have been demonstrated to be twice as effective in reducing poverty as investments in other development sectors.”