Bread for the World’s principles of ending hunger through long-term investment in nutrition, equity, and sustainability were reflected in the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act (GFSA) of 2022.
The legislation, passed by Congress with strong bipartisan support, was signed into law by President Biden last month.
Bread members have championed GFSA since efforts to secure its initial passage in 2016. The law seeks to reduce global hunger, malnutrition, and food and nutrition insecurity through long-term investments in agricultural development and infrastructure. It does so primarily by authorizing and funding Feed the Future, the U.S. flagship global food security program.
Feed the Future focuses on longer-term development goals and enabling people to free themselves from poverty through improved agricultural production, market access, business development, private sector competitiveness, and nutrition interventions.
Feed the Future is expanding to work in 20 countries where it will continue to build food security infrastructure through agricultural productivity, food and nutrition security efforts, resilience building and empowerment of local economies.
In 2022, Bread members were active in advancing needed improvements to the GFSA as the House and Senate considered reauthorization. These efforts, particularly at the Advocacy Summit and through regional organizing events, helped get the legislation across the finish line.
The reauthorized GFSA will be in effect until 2028, working to build on previous achievements. Feed the Future’s progress reports identify many of these: 23.4 million more people living above the poverty line; 5.2 million more families no longer suffering from hunger; 3.4 million more children living free from stunting; $15.3 billion earned by farmers in new agricultural sales; $4 billion unlocked in loans for smallholder farmers; and $2.2 billion leveraged in private-sector investment. The GFSA requirements of a whole-of-government strategy and annual reporting to Congress are important tools to coordinate the various U.S. agencies, led by USAID, that are charged with making Feed the Future a success.
Bread has long encouraged USAID to develop, initiate, and implement broad food security and nutrition strategies for all its offices and programs. Bread has also urged other agencies to work with USAID to develop whole-of-government food security and nutrition strategies. Coordinated plans enable program implementers to see additional potential opportunities to work together and gain deeper understanding of the factors that promoted success and posed barriers in previous initiatives.
The plan now in place is the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy (2022-2026). In keeping with current needs and previous work, its three main objectives are inclusive, sustainable agriculture-led economic growth, stronger resilience among people and systems, and well-nourished people, particularly women and children. As Bread has previously emphasized, investments in the agricultural sector have proven to be by far the most effective in reducing poverty quickly.
Climate change demands not only research into entirely new scientific questions, but research results that can quickly be translated into action plans. An important part of the 2022-2026 food security strategy is its Global Food Security Research Strategy. The research strategy emphasizes collaboration among U.S. government agencies and partnerships with universities, international agricultural research centers, and research and extension services in countries most immediately impacted by climate change.
The strategy is designed to strengthen medium- to long-term sustainable food systems through work in essential areas such as climate-smart agriculture, affordable nutritious foods, and improved, more resilient crops. It builds on the successes of previous collaborations, such as making available drought-tolerant maize seeds sufficient for 17 million acres in eastern and southern Africa. USAID reports that this has improved the food security of 7 million farm families who are facing hunger caused by climate impacts.
Abiola Afolayan is senior international policy advisor with Bread for the World.