Increases in global hunger and poverty caused by sudden spikes in the prices of staple foods in 2007-2008 and 2010-2011 have underscored the urgency of improving agricultural productivity in developing countries to lift people out of poverty and improve food and nutrition security.
In July 2009, G-8 leaders, gathered in L’Aquila, Italy, responded to the global food price crisis. The U.S. proposal to invest significantly more effort and resources in agriculture won support from other donor countries, who committed to providing $22 billion in financing for agriculture and food security over three years. This became known as the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI).
The United States is on track to fulfill its pledges of $3.5 billion, but according to 2011 estimates most donors were falling short. Feed the Future is the United States’ primary contribution to AFSI.
As G-8 president in 2012, the United States has an important opportunity to build on the progress made in the last three years to increase investments in smallholder agriculture and integrate nutrition into agriculture and food security efforts. Continued food price volatility and future challenges to food security, including population growth and climate change, require sustained investments.
At the Camp David G-8 Summit, leaders should build on this foundation and tackle the unfinished agenda, prioritizing nutrition, community resilience, capacity building, women’s empowerment, and agricultural research.