Written by Ann Tutwiler, Coordinator of the Global Food Security Initiative
This May, the U.S. government announced the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative to stem global hunger and increase food security, marking a new direction in food aid and assistance. The whole-of-government approach links USDA’s technical assistance efforts with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the White House, the State Department, and on a broader level with partner countries, multilateral institutions, private voluntary organizations, donors, and civil societies around the world. Secretary Vilsack appointed me to be the USDA Feed the Future coordinator, and my job is to align USDA programs and resources to help achieve sustainable global food security.
This week I am attending the 12th annual International Food Aid and Development Conference, organized by USDA and USAID, where our agencies meet with private voluntary organizations and U.S. farmer associations to coordinate food aid implementation and exchange ideas. I share with the 600 participants in this conference how Feed the Future works and what it will do to secure a healthy, stable food supply to over 1 billion hungry people throughout the world.
Within USDA, we are leveraging the knowledge and expertise of employees both in Washington and at embassies abroad who work with country partners to implement effective programs targeted at vulnerable populations. At each embassy, the USAID mission director is currently serving as the Feed the Future coordinator. USDA attaches are working with USAID missions to develop “whole of government” strategies for reducing hunger and malnutrition.
So how is FTF different? The initiative focuses on country-owned plans, so countries tell us what they need rather than the other way around. It’s comprehensive- we’re not just focusing on production or growing more food. FTF seeks to develop the entire value chain: production, storage and handling, transport and rural infrastructure, and finally increasing market access. For example, USDA works to provide mobile phone access to market information, build roads and streamline port procedures. We’re also focusing on nutrition in a new way, trying to promote dietary diversity, especially for women and children.
President Obama has pledged $3.5 billion in the next three years to implement sustainable, replicable, coordinated projects. While our strategy is still evolving, I encourage you to visit the Feed the Future website to see how our government and partners are actively feeding and securing food for hungry people throughout the world.