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Global Harvest Initiative Urges Thoughtful Consideration In U.S. Budget Discussions For Programs Addressing Global Hunger, Food Security
There is little argument that the United States is currently facing a difficult fiscal environment against an accumulated debt of $14 trillion. In this environment, GHI acknowledges the necessity of budget reductions and a plan to implement the required fiscal discipline.
As the Congress returns from recess, GHI encourages continued emphasis on the roughly one billion people that are struggling with hunger and malnutrition across the globe. While GHI acknowledges necessary budget reductions, we urge thoughtful consideration for the policies and programs that address the critical challenges of global food security and hunger. The challenge is to improve diets for those struggling with hunger today, while also sustainably doubling agricultural output to meet the needs of nine billion people by 2050 with little use of additional land, water or inputs.
Consideration must be given to the sufficiency of resources available to U.S. Government agencies, notably the Department of Agriculture, to continue and enhance the research programs that provide worldwide benefits, but which require a decade or more from laboratory to field. Additionally, adequate resources to strengthen USDA’s ability to review and approve new science-based technologies are essential. Both fundamental research and a science-based approval process are critical elements of addressing global food security and hunger through accelerating the rate of agricultural productivity.
Careful deliberation also should be accorded budget considerations affecting the U.S. Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Administration’s Feed the Future initiative. These agencies and programs will have enormous impact on global hunger and food security. The U.S. provides more funding for development assistance than any country in the world, but these expenditures comprise less than one percent of the total federal budget.
Clearly, every federal expenditure must be carefully scrutinized in today’s economy, but GHI urges thoughtful consideration to avoid causing irreparable harm in the long-term. Allocating relatively small amounts of funding to build economies through improving their agricultural capacity will produce significant benefits in reducing hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity worldwide. Continuing long-term funding for key programs and initiatives that address global hunger and food insecurity can help prevent massive spending in the future to deal with widespread political unrest and armed conflict that inevitably will follow disruptions in agriculture capacity, food availability and price volatility.
For more information on the importance of research, read GHI’s just released policy issue brief, “Improving Agricultural Research, Structure and Collaboration.” Subsequent GHI policy issue briefs will focus on trade, development assistance, science-based technologies and private sector involvement.
Congressional Budget Office: An Analysis of the President’s Budgetary Proposal for Fiscal Year 2012
USAID: Statement by Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID, Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, April 13, 2011.
The Washington Post, “What’s getting cut in the FY 2011 budget”, April 12, 2011.
FY2012 State Department Budget: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Opening Remarks Before the Senate Appropriations Committee on State and Foreign Operations. Washington DC, March 2, 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: Letter to Chairman Harold Rodgers, Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, February 14, 2011.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, “Development Aid Reaches an Historic High in 2010”.