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Bread for the World applauds the introduction of the Global Food Security Act of 2015, S. 1252, last night in the Senate. This legislation seeks to improve the livelihoods of the more than 500 million small-scale farmers around the world, many of whom are women.
“We are hopeful that the bill will generate strong bipartisan support, as did its counterpart in the House, by building off of the effective Feed the Future initiative,” said Eric Mitchell director of government relations at Bread for the World. “This piece of legislation, if passed, will have significant impacts on the lives of the more than 805 million chronically undernourished people in our world, including in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, where one in four people are affected by food shortages.”
S.1252 would authorize and improve Feed the Future, the critical U.S. government program for global food and nutrition security. In 2014, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced that world hunger had dropped by over 100 million in the previous decade. This was due in part to programs like Feed the Future helping millions of small farmers in developing countries increase the amount of food they grew.
Up to 50 percent of the agricultural labor force is women in many developing countries, yet they tend to produce less food than men because they are less likely to own land, and women face higher barriers to hiring labor, accessing credit, and utilizing training and extension services. Programs like Feed the Future help to narrow this gap.
“This legislation’s efforts to address maternal and child nutrition will help the U.S. achieve its goal to end preventable child deaths, almost half of which are caused by malnutrition,” said Mitchell. “It would also further bolster U.S. leadership by leveraging a whole-of-government approach to tackling global hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.”
Efforts are currently underway to garner additional cosponsors of the Senate legislation. The House counterpart of the Global Food Security Act, H.R. 1567, unanimously passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month and awaits further consideration by the full House of Representatives.
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King
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