Global hunger is a multifaceted issue that affects communities and economies. Addressing it is not only a humanitarian imperative but also essential for achieving broader global goals and ensuring a more equitable and sustainable future.
Despite the challenges posed by the Russo-Ukrainian war and the growing wave of nationalism, the United States continues to take initiatives aimed at reducing global hunger and improving food systems and nutrition security on a global scale.
What is the Global Hunger Index?
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is responsible for calculating and tracking hunger at regional, national levels and global levels. GHI evaluation is done on the values of four component indicators: undernourishment, insufficient availability of food, shortfalls in the nutritional status of children and child mortality. The GHI score is measured on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where zero is the best score, indicating no hunger, and 100 is the worst.
According to the report, there are currently 46 countries experiencing “serious” or “alarming” levels of hunger. Unfortunately, without significant changes, both the global situation and approximately 46 specific countries are not expected to attain even a minimal level of hunger reduction, as the Global Hunger Index (GHI) measured, by the year 2030.
Some have said the reason to be the Russo-Ukrainian War, which has disturbed the supply chain. Before that, the COVID-19 pandemic worsened economic crises. Further climate change and civil disputes have increased the scale of global hunger. This has caused the need for the urgent scaling up of humanitarian and resilience-building responses.
The US Initiatives for Reducing Global Hunger
The U.S. is responding to these worrying details with three initiatives. The U.S. dollar has relatively high purchasing power, and the country is trying to contribute its fair share to end global hunger.
The following three initiatives have extended humanitarian assistance to the people who are facing hunger.
1. Feed the Future
The foundation of this initiative was laid down in 2010 by Barack Obama. The program has helped in the technological advancement of 9 million farmers and improved the diets of nearly 18 million children across the globe by working in a variety of sectors to reduce hunger and promote self-resilience. It is active in 19 countries including Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, etc.
The program focuses on the promotion of agriculture. For example, the program has helped farmers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to learn new techniques upon high prices of fertilizers. The Feed the Future DRC Fall Armyworm Activity program works with farmers to make them aware of new technology and methods of mitigating the Armyworm, an infectious pest.
Furthermore, Feed the Future catalyzes research in various fields. As an illustration, in 2023, Esther Achola conducted research aimed at combating groundnut rosette disease (GRD). This disease is especially harmful to peanut crops as it results in plant discoloration, stunting and distortion, leading to total loss of the crop. In April 2023, a five-year, USAID promised a $15 million investment in the Peanut Innovation Lab. This contribution will strengthen global food security and will prove a boon for farmers.
2. Food For Peace
Almost 60 years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower found a solution to the agricultural surplus going to waste in America. He signed the Agricultural Trade Development Assistance Act into law. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy expanded the program, naming it Food For Peace (FFP). The new program came under the purview of foreign policy and worked to provide food to people in need.
Through its emergency programs, the program can reach people in acute shortage of food, who natural disasters affect. The program also has a development-focused aspect which equips people to be less dependent on foreign assistance.
Yemen has the most concerning situation in terms of food security. FFP provided more than $361 million in life-saving emergency food assistance to Yemen in 2018.
In Guatemala, FFP trains people to farm in a way that helps the environment and makes more food at home. In the area where the project happened, more farmers started using good farming methods. These methods include using better seeds, taking care of the soil, using natural fertilizers, growing gardens at home, looking after fruit trees and growing local herbs. In 2013, only 50.1% of farmers used these methods, but by 2018, it went up to 63.8%.
3. The Global Food Security Act
The Global Food Security Act of 2016 was aimed at extending the U.S. commitment to eliminate global hunger. The success of the Feed the Future program prompted the passing of this act. On October 11, 2018, President Trump signed a law that reauthorized the Global Food Security Act and added five years to achieve better results. It emphasized reducing global hunger and poverty with attention to solving the problem of malnutrition in developing countries. Sustainable development aims to achieve the reduction.
The Global Food Security Act of 2016, or GFSA, made official the methods that Feed the Future uses to combat global hunger. It is a commitment to keep fighting hunger and making sure everyone knows about it. Through GFSA, the United States made Feed the Future even stronger by improving how it tracks progress and making different parts of the government work together.
Addressing global hunger is imperative for a more equitable and sustainable future. Despite the challenges that conflicts pose, such as pandemics and changing weather patterns, the United States is actively engaged in combating global hunger through initiatives like Feed the Future, Food For Peace and the Global Food Security Act. These efforts exemplify the nation’s commitment to making a positive impact on the global food security landscape, emphasizing the urgency of collective global action to achieve meaningful progress.
– Asra Mairaj