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Making Nutrition Attainable
There are roughly 15.2 million children under the age of 5 in Bangladesh, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Malnutrition affected about half of this population for years. However, there has been some success in lowering this amount by making nutrition attainable. The WHO records that growth stunting reduced from 41 percent in 2011 to 36 percent in 2014. The percentage of underweight children also dropped from 36 percent to 33 percent between 2011 and 2014.

Although Bangladesh’s economy has progressed and the country has experienced a reduction in poverty, food insecurity remains a concern for about 35 percent of its citizens. The International Food Policy Research Institute recommends that children who consume at least four different food groups a day will be 22 percent less likely to experience stunting. In spite of the food insecurity, each day there are more possibilities for making nutrition attainable for poor countries.

Processed Foods

A very common misconception among big companies and corporations is that poor countries would not be able to purchase their food. Therefore, many companies do not venture to sell to these countries in fear of failure. However, in countries like Bangladesh, India and Nigeria, people purchase over 80 percent of the food rather than relying on home-grown. In Bangladesh, 75 to 90 percent of low-income urban consumers and about 40 percent of low-income rural consumers purchase their food. Fifty to 70 percent of the food people purchase in these countries is processed.

Although there are many unhealthy packaged foods, there is also a market for nutritional processed goods. A study in Nepal found that 80 to 90 percent of the country’s children of 6 to 23 months of age ate commercially-produced packaged foods. In Nigeria, people buy 80 million MAGGI bouillon broth cubes every day. These bouillon cubes carry essential nutritional qualities such as iron and other key micronutrients. There is a need for more similarly packaged and processed foods that provide nutritional density and quality.

Making Nutrition Attainable

In an effort to improve the situation, Groupe Danone and Grameen Bank collaborated to make a fortified yogurt factory in Bangladesh. Danone is the world’s largest yogurt maker with more than $21 billion in annual sales. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi microfinance pioneer and founder of Grameen Bank, first suggested making baby food, however, a yogurt factory became the ultimate choice.

The company is successfully putting enough vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine into the 60 and 80-gram cups of yogurt to meet 30 percent of a child’s daily needed diet. Overall, the local children who are often poor and malnourished benefit from the yogurts the factory produces. There is still a lot of work to do. The consumer demand increasing in the U.S. leads many businesses to cut sugar out of their products by at least 20 percent. However, for countries in Africa and Asia, there has yet to be this kind of motion.

The Danone and Grameen Factory Help People

The Danone and Grameen factory’s main goal is not to make large revenue, but rather to provide nutrition and education. Professor Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank hopes to share a lesson in manufacturing, business and humanitarian efforts for the developing world and the West. He believes that in starting this project, “You don’t see the money-making aspect, but how you can help people.” The project has employed the rural community through its links with the farmers which serve the factory. The yogurt company pays the local workers and farmers more than any customer does. Many employees are earning $60 a week, a substantial amount for rural Bangladesh.

Many private sector companies are hesitant to step into this effort because of the misinformation that affordable nutrition cannot be profitable. Professor Yunus hopes to educate these companies by challenging them to begin thinking about running their businesses in a different manner. For Danone, this project provides a clearer understanding of marketing food in South Asia and entering in a more profitable market in India.

The Impact

Danone and organizations like Feed the Future strive to make nutrition attainable in Bangladesh. As of January 2018, the U.S. Government selected Bangladesh as one of the 12 Feed the Future target countries. Feed the Future, under the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy, is a global hunger and food security initiative. It has established a strategy for making nutrition attainable. Feed the Future aims to intensify production while diversifying agriculture. It uses high-value, multi-nutrient products. Feed the Future’s target beneficiaries include rice farmers, the landless poor who are net purchasers of rice, small and medium-size farmers who can diversify production, agricultural-based enterprises and people employed in the fishing and aquaculture sector. In poor countries, companies such as Danone make nutrition attainable by placing more importance on those in need than on the profit it makes. Government organizations like Feed the Future also help in providing food security to poor countries like Bangladesh.

– Francisco Benitez
Photo: USAID

Feed the Future in Kenya
As of 2018, the Republic of Kenya had a total population of around 51 million people with a growth rate of 2.6 percent. About 25 percent of the nation’s population lives in urban areas and major cities while the majority of Kenyans live in rural and sub-urban areas. Because of this, one would assume agriculture would provide a steady income for most families, but the agricultural sector in Kenya hosts a variety of challenges.

Kenya’s Employment Challenges

While agriculture does contribute one-third of the nation’s GDP, many issues prevent farmers from turning a decent profit. Aside from the fact that only 9.5 percent of Kenya’s total land area is arable, many Kenyans simply lack the monetary resources to expand their businesses. In fact, Oxford University’s poverty index finds that around 50 percent of Kenyans live below the poverty line.

Rural Kenyans, like citizens of many other African countries, rely on subsistence farming—meaning they farm just to feed themselves and their families. In times of crop failure, even simply feeding one’s household can be a challenge, much less producing viable crops to sell. In spite of this, Kenya’s entrepreneurial middle-class keeps growing, and many nonprofits and aid assistance programs are jumping at the chance to see that that growth continues.

Feed the Future in Kenya

One such organization is USAID’s Feed the Future program; the Feed the Future initiative, as described on their website, “brings together partners from across various sectors and the U.S. Government to use each of our unique skills and insights in a targeted, coordinated way to help countries that are ripe for transformation change the way in the way their food systems work.”

Nkamathi Farm Products

An example of how Feed the Future in Kenya has positively impacted the nation’s population can be found in the success of Nkamanthi Farm Products. The founder of the company, Lydia Kanyika, saw how poverty and low education limited opportunities for young people in her community to find meaningful work. Hoping to create positive change in her world, she applied to and won a Feed the Future business development grant. The grant is awarded to select businesses based on four key elements: their marketing plans, ability to create markets, ability to generate employment opportunities and their ability to increase productivity along the livestock value chain in Northern Kenya.

Kanyika used her grant to expand her small business by upgrading her wooden chicken house to a modernized coop. This simple change has not only allowed her to increase the number of chickens she kept from 300 to 2,500 but also grow her farm’s production by 243 percent. Perhaps most amazing of all is how contagious her success was on her community.

The Ripple Effects

Through the expansion of her company, Kanyika has mentored more than 50 young Kenyans and provided them with employment opportunities that help them support their families. One of her employees, Martin Mwenda, gladly shared his business success with representatives from Feed the Future in Kenya. When he first began earning income from distributing eggs from Kanyika’s chickens, he told the project that he only sold five cartons of eggs each day. As Nkamanthi Farm Products grew, so did his clientele; he now sells 25 cartons daily, which provides him with a steady and consistent revenue.

“I want to expand the egg business,” he told Feed the Future. “I will then use the business to create employment opportunities for fellow youth, especially those who have migrated from rural areas to Isiolo town to make ends meet, like I did.”

The Future of Agriculture

While Kenya’s middle class continues to struggle for more open markets and trade, investment and financial freedoms, aid programs like Feed the Future are slowly but surely helping Kenyans expand their personal businesses, which in turn spreads more employment opportunities across the country.

Haley Hiday
Photo: Flickr

Notre-Dame RepairsThe cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is a cultural, religious, and architectural icon that has stood at the center of Paris for nearly a millennium. For many, this cathedral is a sacred place of refuge, an escape from the world or a childhood memory. On April 15, a fire nearly destroyed the cathedral, severely damaging the spire and roof of the building. In the aftermath of this tragedy, news headlines focused on the noteworthy flurry of donations from billionaires and small donors pledged to Notre-Dame repairs.

After reaching nearly $1 billion just days after the fire, several articles marveled at how easy it was to raise these funds when investing the same amount of money and public support for other pressing issues seems so difficult. In a few op-ed pieces, authors even expressed the sadness and disappointment of how vigorous the funding was to repair a church whose religion preaches helping the poor and oppressed. This begs the question of what else could $1 billion be used for? Here are five different ways the funds for the Notre-Dame repairs could have been used.

What $1 Billion in Aid Could Do Around the World

    1. International Aid: In 2017, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spent more than $1 billion on agricultural aid worldwide, which includes investment in capital for agricultural and technological development. USAID spent a similar amount on maternal and child health worldwide to treat cases of illness and provide medical technology to assist in childbirth.
    2. World Hunger: Through local partnerships and government leadership, the Feed the Future Inititiaive spent roughly $3.3 billion in agricultural and rural loans between 2011 and 2017 to mobilize farmers and families in developing countries. The average spending per year for this program amounts to about half of what was donated to the Notre-Dame repairs ($0.5 billion), yet the progress made through this initiative has added an estimated value of nearly $42 billion in economic output.
    3. The Refugee Crisis: The Office of the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has requested $783 million to aid the South Sudan crisis where there are an estimated 2.4 million refugees. It raised $783 million in just 24 hours after the Notre-Dame fire. The funds UNHCR has requested for the crises in the countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Afghanistan comes to around $879 million. That money would aid more than a million refugees collectively in the three countries.
    4. Homelessness: In Beijing, China, homelessness is an increasing problem. The Fengtai Shelter, located in Beijing, serves almost 3,000 people annually and receives just $1.2 million each year in aid from the government. With $1 billion, nearly 800 similar homeless shelters could receive $1.2 million in aid.
    5. Climate Change Relief: Alaskan residents have witnessed dramatic changes where whole villages have been sliding into rivers. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said relocating one such village, Newtok, would require anywhere between $80 to $130 million. Given this analysis, $1 billion could be used to relocate roughly ten such villages in Alaska, impacting thousands of people who are being displaced by increasing water levels.

Here are just five different ways that $1 billion could be used towards important problems in the world. These examples go to show the magnitude of what can be done with $1 billion to help the poor and oppressed. Although it is hearting to see so many people rally together to help with the Notre-Dame repairs, it would be an amazing leap to see that kid of dedication put towards humanitarian aid efforts.

Luke Kwong

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Food Insecurity in Central AmericaThe ability to consistently access nourishment is vital for all people. In regions affected by poverty, like Central America, many families lack this ability. These 10 facts will provide a glimpse at food insecurity in Central America, how it affects the lives of the people who live there and what has been done to address it.

10 Facts About Food Insecurity in Central America

  1. More than 10 percent of Guatemalan children are underweight. About 46.5 percent of Guatemalan children suffer from stunted growth caused by malnutrition. Indigenous children are more likely to suffer from stunted growth; 58 percent of Guatemalan indigenous children under 5 suffer from this condition. Indigenous children are also more likely to suffer from anemia and vitamin deficiencies.
  2. Food insecurity fuels migration to the U.S. Severe droughts, crops destroyed by fungus and persistent poverty all play a role in preventing families from thriving in their home country. USAID and U.N. reports find that poverty and food insecurity in Central America motivates migration more than other factors.
  3. From 2015 to 2018, food insecurity in Central America increased annually. Indigenous populations and women were the groups most impacted by chronic hunger. Poor and rural communities were also likely to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.
  4. USAID’s response to food insecurity is focused on agriculture. USAID funds studies that create solutions to agricultural problems. USAID works with many groups, including governments, universities and American farmers, to bring agricultural solutions to regions affected by food insecurity. USAID also implements initiatives like Feed the Future that directly address food insecurity. Guatemala and Honduras are two of the 12 countries that receive specially targeted assistance through Feed the Future.
  5. Between 2013 and 2017, USAID’s initiative Feed the Future provided assistance to 215,000 Guatemalan children. During this period, Guatemalan agricultural production created $47.8 million worth of profits for the Guatemalan economy. Feed the Future worked to improve agriculture in Guatemala by providing resilient seedlings, higher-quality pesticides and training to prevent the spread of disease among crops. Guatemalan agriculture also became more diverse thanks to the introduction of new crops. In cooperation with USDA, Feed the Future helped Guatemalan farmers learn new methods of planting crops and tracking their growth electronically.
  6. In 2014, USAID implemented new programs in Honduras to fulfill the goals of the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy. In cooperation with the Honduran government, USAID works to decrease rates of stunted growth by 20 percent by 2020. USAID is also working to move 10,000 families out of extreme poverty by 2020. To combat food insecurity in Honduras, USAID is promoting crop diversity, improving infrastructure connecting rural areas to urban areas and improving child nutrition.
  7. The Dry Corridor is experiencing drought. The region referred to as the Central American “Dry Corridor” consists of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. During the summer of 2018, the Dry Corridor was hit by low levels of rainfall and above-average temperatures. The unusually severe drought of 2018 came after a previous two years of drought that lasted from 2014 to 2016, which required food relief for millions of people.
  8. Food insecurity in Central America has been worsened by severe droughts. For the past year, there has been a severe drought in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. 290,322 families in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador were affected by the 2018 drought. $37 million worth of corn was destroyed in El Salvador alone due to lack of rain.
  9. The Central American drought was caused by the effects of the 2015-16 El Niño Event and by the results of global climate change. After the drought, about 3.6 million people required food-related aid. 50-90 percent of the region’s agricultural production was destroyed.
  10. After the 2014-15 droughts and the following spike in food insecurity, the Central American Dry Corridor received an influx of humanitarian aid. Efforts were made to conserve soil, more closely track data about nutrition and hunger and better prepare for future droughts. In the midst of the 2018 drought, data collection was prioritized in order to maintain stable food prices, combat food insecurity within particularly vulnerable populations and relocate rural families away from the regions most severely affected by the drought.

Central America, a region already affected by poverty, reached the brink of crisis after nearly 5 years of severe droughts. By 2018, food insecurity in Central America had spread throughout the countries of the Dry Corridor. But regional governments, with the assistance of relief agencies, implemented agriculture-based solutions to ensure that future droughts would not have the same disastrous consequences. These innovative solutions pave the way for a more secure future in Central America.

– Emelie Fippin
Photo: Flickr

U.S. foreign assistance to Central AmericaRecently, there has been an ongoing debate regarding U.S. foreign assistance to Central America with an emphasis on the countries in the Northern Triangle. The countries include Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. This topic has gained recent attention due to the ongoing border crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Some government officials believe cutting aid will improve the crisis while others believe it will enhance the problem.

Foreign Aid

President Donald Trump announced in April 2019 that he would cut aid to countries in the Northern Triangle. President Trump believed that this decision was an appropriate response to limit the number of refugees from these countries who seek asylum in the U.S. He used this tactic as a punishment directed at Central American governments for allowing record levels of displaced persons to migrate to the U.S. border.

On the other side of the debate, U.S. foreign assistance to Central America may actually be what is necessary to curb this problem. In Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador there are multiple factors that contribute to why people are leaving their homelands. People are seeking asylum in the U.S to escape crime, poverty, corruption and violence.

What Does U.S. Assistance Do in Central America?

The U.S. funds in the Northern Triangle assist a variety of programs. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports increasing security and economic development, ensuring human rights and working towards a more self-reliant population among other projects.

  • El Salvador: In El Salvador, the State Department and USAID projects aided 50 towns by integrating the police force with a community-level crime prevention plan. In these areas, homicide rates shrunk by an average of 61 percent from 2015 to 2017. The El Salvadorian government expanded its yearly revenue by $350 million with the help of a $5 million investment from the U.S. that helped to reform El Salvador’s tax system.
  • Guatemala: In Guatemala, USAID leveraged more than $7 million in private investment, which in turn, helped more than 230,000 children with nutritional support. In the agricultural sector, USAID helped promote the advancement of sales for rural farmers by 51 percent. This aid also helped to create 20,000 new agricultural jobs.
  • Honduras: USAID, in collaboration with Feed the Future, helped lift 89,000 people out of extreme poverty. They also convinced the Honduran government to invest $56 million into the program. USAID and the State Department also helped to drastically reduce homicide rates in dangerous neighborhoods. Through community policing and youth programs backed by the U.S., murder rates dropped by 78 percent between 2013 and 2016 in at-risk communities.

U.S. Strategy for Central America

The U.S. plan for Central America is a bipartisan, multi-year plan that promotes institutional improvements and sparks conversation about developmental challenges. There are three different facets to this strategy.

  1. Promoting prosperity: In the Northern Triangle, USAID projects helped to create nearly 30,000 jobs in 2017 and more than 18,000 in 2018. Furthermore, the U.S. helped facilitate more than $73 million in exports and domestic sales. U.S.-led projects also fostered comradery and interconnectivity between different countries, which led to the formation of new organizations. In May 2016, the Mexico and Central America Interconnection Commission was established. This organization will help to advance power market integration, which will decrease power costs in the territory and increase economic activity.
  2. Enhancing security: U.S. backing makes it easier for regional governments to stop illegal narcotics from reaching the U.S. In 2018, Honduras seized almost 45,000 kilograms of illegal narcotics. U.S. foreign assistance to Central America also helps countries outside of the Northern Triangle. With the help of the U.S., Costa Rica seized more than 35,000 kilograms of illegal narcotics. The enhanced security also got dangerous gang members off the streets. In September 2017, U.S. support helped coordinate an operation that led to the arrests of nearly 4,000 gang members in the U.S. and Northern Triangle countries.
  3. Improving Governance: The U.S. projects help support the improvement of tax collection and fiscal transparency in the countries in the Northern Triangle. This leads to improved effectiveness of public spending and helps professionalize the civil service. In Guatemala, this service limited the number of steps needed to submit a customs and tax complaint, which made it easier to prompt an investigation.

Many politicians believe that it would be a bad idea to cut funding to Central America. “We will work with our colleagues in Congress to do everything in our power to push back on the President’s misguided approach to Central America,” said House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY). Across the aisle, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “Reducing support to CentAm and closing the border with Mexico would be counterproductive.”

U.S. foreign assistance to Central America currently remains a controversial issue in the U.S. But, the statistics don’t lie. Foreign aid has helped the countries in the Northern Triangle. Cutting that aid will not slow the stream of immigrants trying to enter the U.S., but making improvements to the countries through continued aid might.

Nicholas Bartlett
Photo: Flickr

Child Hunger in Egypt
In the wake of the political turmoil brought on by the Arab Spring, Egypt has struggled to maintain economic stability. Even after years of recovery, 28 percent of Egyptians live in poverty and 12.5 percent are unemployed.  Unfortunately, children bear a large brunt of the crisis. The World Food Programme (WFP) found that nearly 31 percent of Egyptian children under five are considered malnourished. To combat this, the WFP, USAID and other organizations are stepping in to help schools, farmers and more fight child hunger in Egypt.

Providing Access to Food

According to the WFP, 16 percent of Egyptians have inadequate access to food. This shortage affects all Egyptians, but especially families living in the rural Northern region of Egypt. In rural Egypt, 21.3 percent of the population has poor access to food.

To help alleviate the effect this shortage has on children, the WFP and the Egyptian government are working on providing free school meals to children who attend community schools – rural, one-room schools common in Northern Egypt.  This initiative helps feed hungry children and encourages families to continue to send their children to school even in hard times.

Recently, Egypt has had an influx of refugees escaping the civil war in Syria. These families are often in dire need of help and, as a response, the school meals program was expanded to include refugee children attending schools of all kinds. This is part of the wider Syria Refugee Regional Response program, which aims to train refugees in vocational skills that hold value in the market.

Supporting Agriculture to Lessen Child Hunger in Egypt

Agriculture is an integral part of the Egyptian economy and an important factor when tackling child hunger. Agriculture makes up 14.5 percent of the annual GDP and accounts for 28 percent of all jobs. Despite this, most farmers operate on a small scale and use traditional methods of farming that do not always line up with international standards. Examples of this include using too much or an incorrect type of chemical, resulting in poor yields and soil.

USAID has been working closely with these farmers as a part of its Feed the Future approach to sustainable food supplies. One way the group aims to create sustainability is to focus on farmers growing high-value crops such as tomatoes or green beans. USAID also helps farmers adjust their plans according to the market and needs of their buyers.

Transportation of crops is an issue in rural Egypt, where there is little infrastructure in place to carry goods across the country in temperatures that can sometimes be above 40 degrees Celsius. In response, USAID has helped build small storage houses in rural Egypt where local communities can store their crops more effectively. This process cuts down waste significantly, allowing farmers to bring in a bigger profit, reduce waste and feed their surrounding areas.

Moving Toward a Fuller Future

With proper farming strategies in place, rural Egyptians are positioned to feed their surrounding areas and their families, helping stop child hunger in Egypt while supporting the agricultural economy as well. Organizations such as the WFP and USAID are working together with both farmers and the government to provide food to those who need it most in a sustainable manner. This includes reforming farming practices and implementing programs that encourage students to go to school while providing meals to Egypt’s most vulnerable children.

– Jonathon Ayers
Photo: Flickr

Feed the Future
April 2018 marked the official start of the Feed the Future Kenya Country Plan, a USAID initiative to reduce poverty and food insecurity in Kenya
The plan was put into action by U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec at the Accelerating Value Chain Development (AVCD) National Conference, which took place in Nairobi during April 26-27.

Feed the Future

Feed the Future is a program developed by the Obama administration as part of the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy. It aims to promote agricultural production and help communities better cope with drought and climate change by introducing new technologies and innovative strategies to local farmers.

The Country Plan is actually the beginning of the second phase of Feed the Future in Kenya; the first phase was originally implemented five years ago. The hope for the second phase is to bolster the areas of the program which were successful and make improvements to the components that need work.

Progress in Combatting Poverty

So far, Feed the Future has been a huge success. Between 2011 and 2016, the program lifted an approximated 9 million people out from under the poverty line. Feed the Future farmers produce maize and groundnut crop yields that are 23 percent and 64 percent higher than the national average, respectively, which has resulted in an additional revenue of 2.6 billion dollars in agricultural sales.

Because of the progress made in the agrarian sector, an estimated 1.7 million households are no longer experiencing frequent hunger and malnutrition. In addition, there has been a 26 percent drop in stunted growth among children since the program began.

Agriculture and Economy Partner Up

The incredible numbers that have been achieved by Feed the Future are the result of partnerships between leading minds in the agricultural and economic fields. The program brings in speculation from scientists, successful businesses, nonprofits, food production companies and government agencies to create well thought out approaches to food insecurity.

Despite all of its accomplishments, there are still some issues that need to be worked out with Feed the Future. The most major of these is the focus of the program, which until now has been primarily on increasing crop yield.

While this is undeniably important, there should be more emphasis on education so that farmers understand what’s behind the positive trends and can continue them on their own for years to come — it’s called Feed the Future for a reason, after all.  

Dual Success

But overall, Feed the Future is a promising initiative that has already delivered spectacular results to food insecure nations. It is important that projects like this one continue to receive attention and funding, not only for the sake of those in need but for the taxpayers who finance them as well.

A recent study by the U.K. Department for International Development in Ethiopia and Kenya found that over the next two decades, every dollar invested in strengthening the ability of communities to cope with drought and climate change could result in about $3 saved in short-term humanitarian aid. This means that funding the right programs today will save American taxpayer dollars tomorrow.

– Maddi Roy
Photo: Flickr

The United States Office of Global Food Security provides crucial, life-saving humanitarian aid to the world’s poorest countries. The Office of Global Food Security (OGFS) seeks to advance global food security by addressing the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition, investing in country-led programs, leveraging multilateral institutions and making accountable, sustained commitments.

One of the initiatives of the OGFS is an organization called 1,000 Days, and it shows the importance of providing and achieving global food security. The purpose of 1,000 Days is to ensure the best nutrition during a woman’s pregnancy up until the second birthday of that child, as this “sets the foundation for all the days that follow,” as the organization’s official website states.

According to the organization, nutrition during pregnancy up until the second birthday provides the essentials for brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system. A person’s predisposition to chronic diseases and obesity are also linked to this thousand-day window. Malnourished daughters who become malnourished mothers can also give birth to malnourished children, continuing the cycle.

Feed the Future serves as an OGFS initiative as well, with its focus being combating hunger and poverty around the world. The areas the initiative seeks to improve upon are inclusive agriculture sector growth, gender integration, improved nutrition, research and capacity building, private sector engagement and resilience.

Some of the key accomplishments of Feed the Future from 2017 include 1.7 million families no longer suffering from hunger and $2.6 billion in crop sales generated by farmers. Furthermore, more than nine million more people now live above the poverty line due to the initiative.

Despite the effectiveness of the Office of Global Food Security’s efforts to reduce hunger, President Trump’s administration said it would withdraw funding to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, or GAFSP. Created during the Obama administration, GAFSP was designed as an integral part to the Feed the Future initiative. GAFSP’s main goals are to raise farmer incomes, increase food security and prevent unrest that results from food shortages.

The United States is the program’s biggest donor, with $653 million to date. In an interview with Foreign Policy, Marie Clarke, a member of the GAFSP steering committee and executive director of the nonprofit ActionAid USA, explained that withdrawing the United States’ funding could be extremely harmful to economic development, security and humanitarian conditions in the world’s most susceptible regions.

Hopefully, withdrawing funding for GAFSP will not set the tone for how much the U.S. Office of Global Food Security will be able to spend on reducing global hunger. The continued vigilance of such organizations, supported by nations like the U.S., are supremely important in the fight against poverty.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr

Feed the FutureRecently the U.S. Agency for International Aid Development Administrator, Mark Green, announced the next phase for Feed the Future, and listed 12 countries that will be targeted to receive aid.

Feed the Future is a global hunger and food insecurity initiative that was founded in 2010. Originally, the project targeted 19 countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Since 2011, Feed the Future has contributed to reducing poverty by 19 percent and dropped child stunting by 26 percent. 9 million more people are living over the poverty line and 1.7 million households are no longer suffering from hunger. Feed the Future farmers have produced higher maize and groundnut yields that were, on average, 23 percent and 64 percent higher than national averages.

Going forward, Green stated that the countries that would be targeted for this next phase are Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. These countries were chosen based on their level of need, potential for growth, opportunities for partnership, opportunities for regional efficiencies, host government commitment and resource availability.

In Bangladesh, 40 million people (25 percent) remain food insecure and 31.5 percent of the population live below the poverty line. Ethiopia faces a 29.6 percent poverty rate and 40.2 percent of people are malnourished. In Ghana, the poverty rate is 25.2 percent which is a significant decrease, however there are still a lot of Ghanaians who are food insecure and live below the poverty line.

In Honduras, there is a 33 percent poverty rate and it is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Kenya has a 42 percent poverty rate and faces a humanitarian crisis as an influx of refugees enter the country. Mali’s gross national income is $580 and the poverty rate is 59.2 percent as of 2005. 25.2 percent of Nepal’s population lives below the poverty line.

The poverty rate in Niger is 48.9 percent. In Nigeria, the poverty rate is 53.5 percent and their GDP growth is -1.5 percent. Senegal’s poverty rate is 38 percent and the GNI is $950. Finally, Uganda has a 34.6 percent poverty rate and a GNI of $660.

In the new phase, each of the target countries will develop a whole-government plan for reaching the goals laid out in the Global Food security strategy. This will focus its efforts on promoting sustainable developments and providing people in these areas with knowledge and resources to be able to feed themselves long term.

The announcement arrived just a year after the passing of the historic U.S. Global Food Security Act and is meant to continue the progress that began with that law.

– Téa Franco

Photo: Google


Zambia’s agriculture possesses the ideal makings of a strong farming community. They have arable land, water and abundant human resources. Small-scale farmers are instrumental in food production countrywide and contribute significantly to the national food basket. Ultimately, these agricultural workers help their country’s poor.

To aid small-holder farmers in gaining access to high-quality, disease-free seeds, Syngenta and USAID’s Feed the Future Program invests as much as $1.8 million to provide seedling production sites. These sites will be in 20 districts across Zambia.

Each of the above-mentioned sites will be owned and operated by one Entrepreneurial Young Plant Riser (YPR), who will provide business and technical training, as well as facilitate market linkages. This will benefit 12,000 smallholder farmers and give them access to seedling production sites.

These sites will primarily use cabbage and tomato seedlings, which allows the smallholder farmers in Zambia to potentially become commercially viable vegetable farmers. They will use the classes they receive from YPR at the seedling production sites to learn how to utilize their farm space and marketing linkages to succeed with what they have.

Zambia has a major problem with low levels of investment, lack of access to affordable credit and limited access to modern technology that helps with marketing trends. There exists a high number of small-holder farmers who store their money in their homes instead of investing in further land or more seeds. The investment of seedling production sites will not only help them gain marketing and fiscal knowledge, it will also help boost the country’s economy. This investment will then come to help the population as a whole.

Rilee Pickle

Photo: Flickr