With its approval late December 10 by the United States House of Representatives, U.S.-led global food security legislation is one step closer to becoming law.
The move came two days after NCBA CLUSA co-hosted a food security briefing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., meant to highlight NCBA CLUSA’s sustainable, nutrition-led approach to development and how these efforts complement the larger global food security strategy proposed by the bill.
The 2014 Global Food Security Act (H.R. 5656) drew bipartisan support from co-sponsors Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee; and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).
The legislation seeks to codify the Obama administration’s flagship initiative to maximize the impact and sustainability of U.S. government and taxpayer investments to end global hunger by addressing the root causes of hunger and poverty.
A hallmark of Feed the Future legislation is its commitment to the quality and nutrition content of food grown in intervention countries, not just its quantity. The bill is also noteworthy for its “numerous” mentions of cooperatives, said Alan Knapp, NCBA CLUSA vice president for Advocacy.
“As a lead implementer of Feed the Future, NCBA CLUSA has first-hand experience with the powerful impact this program has on communities around the world,” said Michael Beall, president and CEO of NCBA CLUSA. “We’re pleased with the momentum behind this bill, and we’re confident that the Senate next year will consider the incredible success this program is having and progress it is making to reduce food insecurity and increase nutrition for the most vulnerable.”
Since its launch in 2010, Feed the Future, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has allocated $1 billion to fight hunger in 19 target countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America.
According to the first demographic and health survey conducted in Ethiopia since the launch of Feed the Future interventions there, the country has seen a 10 percent reduction in stunting during the period of Feed the Future—almost double the normal rate—despite continued population growth. Richard Greene, Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, called the results “landmark” at NCBA CLUSA’s briefing earlier this week.
In Senegal, NCBA CLUSA is implementing one of Feed the Future’s inaugural projects, a nutrition-led agriculture project called Yaajeende, which is addressing Vitamin A deficiencies in the country with orange-flesh sweet potatoes and other bio-fortified foods.
NCBA CLUSA and other food security advocates are applauding the comprehensive nature of the bill, its whole-of-government approach and its emphasis on crucial public-private partnerships and women’s empowerment at the household level.
“To combat chronic hunger, food insecurity and regional instability, the Global Food Security legislation in part calls for improving the lives of smallholder farmers and producers, women’s economic empowerment, better nutrition for women and children, increased resilience and capacity-building, and leveraging stakeholder involvement, including cooperatives, which is central to our organization,” Knapp said.
NCBA CLUSA, he added, was “actively and directly” involved in negotiations with leaders on global food security legislation in both the House and Senate on bill language, and has collaborated with NGO Alliance InterAction and its members to rally support for the bill.
Companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2909) did not come up for a vote. The 114th Congress, which will convene in January 2015, is expected to consider the bill.