On World Food Day, the United States announced investment in agricultural initiatives to address food insecurity around the world.
“There is no longer any doubt that food security is an issue of acute global urgency,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an October 16 statement. “So, on this World Food Day, let us be true to its theme — Leave No One Behind — because the health, the stability, and the wellbeing of all our people depends on the food security that we build together.”
At the start of 2022, more than 190 million people around the world were food insecure. The war in Ukraine could add 70 million people to that number, the State Department says.
Coupled with increasing agricultural uncertainty caused by the climate crisis, it is more important than ever to make sure people around the world have the food they need.
USAID takes action
The U.S. Agency for International Development is launching several initiatives to combat food insecurity, focusing particularly on countries hard hit by the climate crisis, such as Somalia and Ethiopia.
On October 19, USAID launched the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Research Strategy to underscore the U.S. government’s commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition, and to building sustainable, resilient food systems.
“In a world where climate change is leading to ever more disastrous shocks, with so many of the harshest impacts falling on poor farmers, how do we break the cycle of lurching from food crisis to food crisis,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power said at the World Food Prize Foundation’s Annual Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue to commemorate World Food Day. “How we can harness the industry and know-how … to feed the planet without accelerating climate change even further.”
The new research strategy — run by both USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — will generate sustainable solutions for addressing the root causes of hunger and malnutrition around the world.
Additional USAID funding announcements included:
- $27 million to expand the Space to Place initiative across sub-Saharan Africa to improve efficient fertilization application.
- $3.8 million to support the ISAAA AfriCenter, Kenyatta University, and Addis Ababa University to expand the use of their Nobel Prize-winning genome-editing technology to develop sorghum resistant to weed infestations.
- $75 million to increase food fortification efforts through the AFFORD project — an ambitious effort to safely and sustainably provide essential micronutrients.
Power also commemorated and honored the 2022 World Food Prize laureate Cynthia Rosenzweig for her work to address the climate crisis and end food insecurity.
“Dr. Rosenzweig’s research could not be more timely, needless to say, because today, we award the World Food Prize amidst the greatest global food crisis of our lifetimes,” said Power.