Think back to the beginning of the United States. Beyond men in powdered wigs, to the basis of American life:
The path to prosperity for nearly every country in the world has been through agriculture. By growing your own food, you develop roots in your land—roots that leads to thriving and sustainability.
So why does this not translate over to today’s approach to global hunger? Importing food as humanitarian aid is the common approach to solving hunger. There are starving people around the world and they need food, right now. It’s true. But food aid, while absolutely necessary in situations like famines, offers an immediate, but short-term solution.
It’s cheaper, faster, and more effective to invest in local farmers than it is to send over relief. By investing locally, we’ll be able to go further.
According to USAID, going local means:
- Feeding More People: Investing locally means 2 million more people can be reached by US assistance each year using the same amount of money.
- Saving Money: Buying food from local farmers has a price tag that’s about 20% less than importing food from abroad.
- Faster and More Effective Response: Local food aid can reach those in need 11 to 14 weeks sooner as opposed to US shipped food.
Fortunately, the US government has already gotten the memo on the benefits of buying food locally. This means our dollars will go further. The US government's Global Health and Food Security Initiative (called, Feed the Future) partners with developing countries to address the root causes of global food insecurity by investing in agricultural development and improved nutrition.
Since the start of Feed the Future, poverty has been reduced in areas where the program is concentrated. Ethiopia has seen a decrease of 12% from 2013 to 2015. In Cambodia, poverty is down by 26% since 2009. And, in Liberia, poverty has decreased 19% from 2012 to 2015.
Now’s the time.
We need to revolutionize the way we approach hunger by going back to the basics—by investing in agriculture.
If you’re interested in learning more about our government’s approach to global hunger, click here.