October: Food Security Month

Tomorrow is World Food Day, but USAID recognizes the entire month of October as Food Security Month. Their press release, copied below in its entirety explains what food security involves. It is far more than just food on the table.

Stop Hunger Now is a staunch supporter of the Millennium Development Goals. Hunger and extreme poverty can be cut in half. And the other seven goals are also achievable, as well.

October 2010: Food Security Month

Chairwoman Rose Peter of the Upendo Women Growers Association in Mlandize, Kibaha, Tanzania, shows off the first batch of sweet peppers the women have grown in their new greenhouse.

Young woman washing corn in Joyabaj, Guatemala.

Alimatu Zakaria of Suglo women’s rice processing group in Tamale sieving parboiled paddy

Improving tomato crop production in Honduras.  USAID's Rural Economic Diversification Project, (RED) has assisted farmers to increase their crop production not only to feed their families, but to sell to grocery stores to improve the family income.

Food security is about more than reducing global chronic hunger. Food security is about economic security, environmental security, and human security. It is also about adequate nutrition, ensuring that children, especially under the age of two, are receiving quality food to foster their development.

According to a recent FAO report, there are now 925 million chronically hungry people in the world. While this number is down from one billion in 2009, it is still unacceptably high. The Obama Administration demonstrated its commitment to address global hunger through ground-breaking initiatives such as Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative. In a whole-of-government approach, USAID is working across U.S. agencies through these initiatives to tackle one of the most serious development issues: food security.

This month, in support of USAID’s Food Security Month, we are reaffirming our commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, most specifically, MDG 1-to reduce by half the number of people who suffer from hunger.

USAID’s Approach

USAID is making long-term, large-scale investments in a small number of partner countries to concentrate our resources on the approaches we know work well. We understand that country ownership provides the most effective means to coordinate development efforts and achieve sustainability, so we are aligning our resources with country-owned plans to address global hunger.

The Feed the Future Initiative is a renewed commitment to agriculture, investing $3.5 billion over three years in agricultural development, a proven lever for combating food insecurity and an engine for broader economic growth, prosperity and stability. Feed the Future aims to improve lives by focusing on the important role of gender, private sector investment, research, and nutrition.

For nearly 60 years, USAID Food for Peace has brought hope and nourishment to the hungry corners of the world. Food for Peace responds to natural disasters and complex emergencies worldwide while also promoting long-term food security through agriculture and natural resource management; health and household nutrition; and education, and microenterprise. During FY 2009 (pdf, 1.92mb), Food for Peace provided more than $2.6 billion to assist approximately 61 million people in 61 countries.

Nutrition is a major objective of both the Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives and is integral to USAID’s development programs across sectors. Addressing undernutrition is not just more food, it is the right food, to the right target at the right time. Agriculture programs are designed to not only improve access to food, but to improve its quality. Humanitarian assistance programs for the most vulnerable aim to prevent undernutrition—rather than treat it when it might be too late. USAID health programs deliver a package of holistic nutrition interventions—and maximize benefits to women and young children by coupling these efforts with water-, sanitation-, and health-systems. .