Global poverty touches the lives of millions of people. Currently, close to 3 billion people lack access to toilets and 1 billion lack access to clean drinking water. In addition, 2.7 million newborns worldwide die within their first month of life.
Seven countries are home to 58 percent of the world’s hungry: India, China, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Tanzania.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization states that 795 million people suffer from chronic hunger. It is clear that there is much work to do in confronting the problems associated with ending global poverty.
The Global Food Security Act aims to address these problems head-on. The bill is a “comprehensive strategic approach for U.S. foreign assistance to developing countries” according to the text of the bill and hopes ‘to reduce global poverty and hunger, achieve food and nutrition security, promote inclusive, sustainable, agricultural-led economic growth, improve nutritional outcomes” among other objectives.
First introduced in March of last year, The Global Food Security Act has carried much bipartisan support due to its proposed benefits. According to InternAction, a group of non-governmental agencies in Washington D.C, a program launched due to the Act, Feed the Future, Initiative, “improved the nutrition of 12.5 million children and assisted nearly 7 million farmers and producers in improving their use of technology and land management practices.”
On March 10, 2016, the Global Food Security Act (S.1252) moved from the Senate floor to committee. The bill, which was introduced by Senator Robert “Bob” Casey Jr. from Pennsylvania, gained three new cosponsors in February, Senator Benjamin Cardin [D-MD], Senator Bob Corker [R-TN] and Senator Daniel Coats [R-IN]. The new additions bring the total number of cosponsors to 13, seven republicans and six democrats.
The House version of the bill (H.R.1567) that has been in committee since April of last year, also has three recent cosponsors, consisting of Congressman Steve Womack [R-AR3], Congressman Lacy Clay [D-MO1] and Congressman Lee Zeldin [R-NY1] which brings the total number to 123, 82 democrats and 42 republicans.
The Global Food Security Act can have huge potential benefits. The World Bank indicates, “that growth in agriculture is on average at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth outside agriculture… Agricultural growth reduces poverty directly, by raising farm incomes, and indirectly, through generating employment and reducing food prices.” By passing the Global Food Security Act, the United States can take decisive action in reducing global poverty.
– Michael Clark
Sources: The Borgen Project, GovTrack 1, GovTrack 2, GovTrack 3, InterAction, Bread for the World, World Bank