Threats and Opportunities in the Progress Against Hunger

U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Des Moines, Iowa – Bread for the World President Rev. David Beckmann today cited two significant threats to progress against domestic and global hunger: budget cuts and the surge of global conflict. Beckmann was speaking at a news conference during events surrounding the 2017 World Food Prize.  

“We have made tremendous progress against hunger in the United States and around the world,” Beckmann said. “But budget cuts proposed by Congress and global conflict threaten this progress and will increase hunger.”  

At least 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and northeast Nigeria suffer from near-famine conditions, and hunger is on the rise globally for the first time in almost a decade. These circumstances are largely the result of conflict.

“We know that the budget cuts and tax proposals, currently under consideration in Congress, will lead to significant cuts to programs that help people living in hunger and poverty,” Beckmann added.

Beckmann laid out several policy recommendations lawmakers and the administration could implement to keep up the progress against hunger.

“One, don’t cut funding for programs that help people living in hunger and poverty. Two, the U.S. should do more to address global conflict and the near-famine conditions. Three, pass a robust, forward-looking Farm Bill that fully funds domestic and global anti-hunger programs.”

The Farm Bill is the most significant piece of legislation related to hunger in the U.S. Programs covered by the Farm Bill include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program, and senior nutrition. It also contains global assistance programs such as McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and Food for Peace.

The U.S. has been doing its part against hunger. Bread was instrumental in securing more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 2017 budget for famine relief. Beckmann also lauded President Trump’s appointment of Mark Green as United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator and his nomination of David Beasley as World Food Programme executive director.  

“We have come too far to turn back now,” Beckmann said. “Because of the progress we’ve made the end of hunger is within our reach. But we won’t get there with budget cuts.”

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