Report urges Trump administration not to cut international food aid
The Trump administration may be proposing to cut international food aid and the budget for the U.S. Agency for International Development, but the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which laid the ground work for the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program, released a report March 30 urging the Congress and the administration to maintain those programs.
“The discussion of food security as a driver of stability is an urgent one as Congress and the administration consider the future security of the United States,” said Council President Ivo Daalder in a news release from the council’s Global Food Security Symposium in Washington.
“It is vital that the United States sustain successful investments, such as those in international agricultural development that have contributed to decades of human progress — especially as famines are emerging on multiple fronts, populations are booming and the effects of climate change are making farming more difficult,” Daalder said.
“Agriculture must become more productive in low-income countries, not just to feed rapidly growing populations but also to generate economic opportunity in the food system as hundreds of millions of young people enter the workforce in the coming decades,” said Dan Glickman, an Agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, who co-chairs the council’s agricultural task force.
“In addition, as agriculture abroad intensifies, incomes rise, translating into attractive new markets for American farmers and the broader agribusiness sector. Active U.S. leadership would help accelerate this,” Glickman said
“Without urgent action, not only may the opportunity be lost, we could see a rise in food-related crises, which can spark broader unrest. U.S. support for global food and nutrition security is not at odds with policies that put American interests first; in fact, these efforts strongly reinforce our national security and economic agendas,” added former Rep. Douglas Bereuter, R-Neb., who co-chairs the task force.
The Council’s news release said, “As the report makes clear, the United States benefits from a more prosperous, safer and healthier world, including new knowledge, research and technologies for our food and agriculture sector; expanded markets at home and abroad for American businesses and entrepreneurs; new and renewed strategic relationships in key areas of the world; and increased security from the reduction of hunger-related political and economic instability. Though addressing these needs will require government leadership, it is also a significant investment opportunity for the private sector given that in Africa alone the value of the agriculture and food sector is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030.
“Specifically, the report calls for the Trump administration and Congress, in close collaboration with the private sector, civil society, universities, multilateral institutions and other national governments, to make global food and nutrition security a pillar of U.S. diplomatic and national security arrangements, prioritize public research investments and ‘productively partner’ with the private sector on investments in developing countries, particularly Africa.”
“The United States has a legacy of commitment to this issue for many reasons — moral, economic and security-related,” said Alesha Black, director of the Council’s global food and agricultural program.
“The findings of this report reinforce why American leaders as far back as Truman and Eisenhower have recognized the importance of food security. Smart investments and concerted action now could lead to historic gains for ending global hunger, which will pay dividends for American interests and the world.”
Other members of the task force that wrote the report include:
Ann Veneman, an agriculture secretary in the George W. Bush administration
Rajiv Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation, who was an administrator of USAID under Obama
Catherine Bertini, a Republican former executive director of the U.N. World Food Program
A.G. Kawamura, a former Republican California agriculture secretary who is considered a candidate for a high level appointment at USDA under Trump
Janet Napolitano, a Homeland Security secretary under Obama who is now president of the University of California
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
The report was paid for by Abbott, Syngenta, United Technologies, Cargill, DuPont Pioneer, Land O’Lakes, RTI International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.