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September 20, 08

NEWS / Promoting Food Security Worldwide: A U.S. Commitment


“We’re sending a clear message to the world: that America will lead the fight against hunger for years to come.” — President
George W. Bush

The United States is the world’s largest food aid donor and has acted quickly to address the rise in global food prices. The U.S. is on track to provide over $5.5 billion – far more than any other country – to fight global hunger in 2008 and 2009. Food security is an international issue requiring an international response. The United States is coordinating closely with the United Nations, the G8, the World Bank, and other international partners.

Presidential Leadership

On May 1, 2008 President Bush announced an integrated strategy to urgently address both the immediate consequences and the underlying causes of the global food price crisis. Congress responded quickly, and on June 30, 2008 the President signed a supplemental appropriations act that provides an additional $1.64 billion in assistance.

Targeted Assistance

The United States’ humanitarian assistance will focus on the most vulnerable countries, where food prices have risen sharply, poverty levels are high, safety nets are weak or non-existent and people are highly dependent on food imports.

A Three-Pronged Strategy

* Immediate and expanded humanitarian response targeting those countries made most vulnerable to hunger by rising food prices.
* Development assistance to thosecountries most able to rapidly increase staple food production.
* Support for trade liberalization and increased use of advanced agricultural technologies.

Efforts to increase food production and increase regional trade of food staples will initially target countries and programs in Africa. These efforts have the potential to:

* Rapidly increase the staple food supply in target countries and in neighboring countries through trade;
* Leverage significant investments from other sources, including the private sector; and
* Use market-based policies and trade incentives to ensure a rapid increase in food supplies.

Longer Term Solutions

Investments in science and technology are essential to increasing the food supply. Key innovations include improved post-harvest management techniques and increased plantings of drought-tolerant crops. Removing barriers to trade in technologically advanced crops, including those produced through biotechnology, will speed progress in reducing hunger and stabilizing food markets.

An International Response

At the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan, G8 leaders committed to take sustained, concerted action on food security, and called plans developed at the Rome High-Level Conference on World Food Security. The United States will continue to play a leadership role and actively engage with all countries to promote a strong global market for agriculture.

Biofuels Only One Factor

Increased production of biofuels is one contributing factor to increased food prices, but not the most significant. The United States investment in next generation biofuels will simultaneously promote food security as well as energy diversification.

Multiple Factors Contribute to Rising Food Prices

* Large increases in fuel and transportation costs
* Economic growth and increased consumer demand
* Rapid increases in agricultural input prices (fertilizers, pesticides, seeds)
* Low world grain stocks
* Two years of poor harvests in traditional exporting countries
* Export controls and other trade restricting policies
* Production of biofuels
* Reduction in global agricultural investment, research and development

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