Feed the Future
Feed the Future (FtF) is a program of the U.S. State Department which was developed in the wake of the G8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy in July 2009. The summit led to a commitment of "at least $3.5 billion for agricultural development and food security over three years" from the United States as part of a total pledge of $18.5 billion from donors around the world "in support of a common approach to achieve sustainable food security." Feed the Future is "the U.S. government's global hunger and food security initiative, renews our commitment to invest in sustainably reducing hunger and poverty." See also: U.S. State Department Promotion of Agricultural Biotechnology.
About the Program
- "We are guided by the Rome Principles as we work alongside development partners to support processes through which countries develop and implement food security strategies and investment plans that reflect their needs, priorities, and development strategies. The country-owned plans, referred to in this document as Country Investment Plans (CIPs), serve as the foundation for countries to mobilize resources and coordinate with development partners to accelerate their progress toward the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger and poverty by 2015. As described in the Rome Principles, we commit to work in partnership to:
- "Invest in country-owned plans that support results-based programs and partnerships, so that assistance is tailored to the needs of individual countries through consultative processes and plans that are developed and led by country governments
- "Strengthen strategic coordination to mobilize and align the resources of the diverse partners and stakeholders – including the private sector and civil society – that are needed to achieve our common objectives
- "Ensure a comprehensive approach that accelerates inclusive agricultural-led growth and improves nutrition, while also bridging humanitarian relief and sustainable development efforts
- "Leverage the benefits of multilateral institutions so that priorities and approaches are aligned, investments are coordinated, and financial and technical assistance gaps are filled
- "Deliver on sustained and accountable commitments, phasing-in investments responsibly to ensure returns, using benchmarks and targets to measure progress toward shared goals, and holding ourselves and other stakeholders publicly accountable for achieving results."
- "Phase I – The first phase of investment in a Focus Country during which FTF investments consist of foundational investments that assist a country in developing its CIP [Country Investment Plan], conducting policy reform, and building capacity for successful implementation of the CIP. Phase I also includes core investments that directly contribute to accelerating inclusive agriculture sector growth and improving nutritional status.
- "Phase II – The second phase of investment in a Focus Country, during which a country is eligible for larger-scale FTF investments in priority areas that are aligned with the CIP. In Phase II, FTF invests in a greater proportion of core investments that result in scaled-up development impacts at the country and regional level, while continuing to build the foundation for sustainable and inclusive market-led growth through investments in capacity building and policy reform."
Within the U.S. government, FtF will be led by the U.S. Global Hunger and Food Security (GHFS) Coordinator. "The Coordinator will provide strategic policy and budget direction that spans the U.S. government resources of Feed the Future. The GHFS Coordinator will also coordinate FTF implementation across federal agencies and sectors to align and integrate FTF with complementary efforts in agriculture, trade, health, climate change, and economic policy in service of a common strategy. Beyond promoting broader alignment within the U.S. government, the Coordinator will strengthen collaboration with the international community, including other bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, and other international organizations."
The GHFS Coordinator will have two deputies: the Deputy Coordinator for Development and the Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy. Additionally, within each "Focus Country," the implementation of FtF will be led by a FtF Country Coordinator, appointed by that nation's U.S. Ambassador.
"Potential FtF Investments"
As of November 2010, the Obama administration listed the following as "potential" agricultural investments:
- "Investments in agricultural-led growth will encompass the following areas: improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities. The specific package and focus of investments will vary by country and will depend on the key priorities articulated in the country’s strategy.
- Improving agricultural productivity
- "Gains in productivity can be driven by a number of factors, including improved access to agricultural inputs and knowledge, more efficient use of land and labor, conducive policy environments, and improved management of natural resources. We will consider supporting investments in productivity, with particular focus on small-scale agricultural producers, that:
- "Increase access to affordable agricultural inputs and improved techniques and technology, including agricultural biotechnology, high quality seed, livestock feed, fertilizer, and best management practices. We will work with private sector partners to expand commercially sustainable agro-input industries and dealer networks, including small and medium enterprises; seed company training to improve quality management; smart voucher schemes for smallholder purchases of inputs; and policy reforms that facilitate private sector investment. Increased access to inputs should be coupled with strategies to help ensure their safe and sustainable use. Investments will aim for women to have equal access to affordable inputs and improved techniques and technology.
- "Develop inputs and technologies that are adapted to local conditions by supporting national research institutes, funding applied research, and building local research capacity, including training local researchers and technicians.
- "Expand access to knowledge through agricultural extension, providing educational services that are tailored to meet local needs, including the needs of women. These should be demand-driven, scientifically-based, cost-effective, and build on local and indigenous knowledge. We will invest in strengthening the effectiveness and coverage of a range of public and private extension service delivery systems, including those for delivery of new informational products for short-, medium-, and long-term forecasts and other climate information in a form that producers can use. If gender inequalities inhibit demand, then these inequalities should be addressed. Approaches tailored to the different roles that men and women play within the household can be more effective than approaches that focus on just the head of household.
- "Strengthen property rights to land and other productive assets to promote investment and sustainable resource use, including clarifying and harmonizing statutory and customary land tenure systems. Land systems that ensure strong and clear rights will create incentives to increase productivity, lease underutilized resources, and better manage natural assets to optimize economic opportunities.
- "Enhance sustainability and resilience of production through a large-scale systems approach to environmental and natural resource management. Climate change impacts will be most severe on hydrological cycles and rainfall patterns. Sound management of natural assets – including land, water, forests, and fisheries – provides multiple benefits in terms of food production, environmental health, and nutrition. Watershed and landscape approaches can help maintain critical environmental services and goods, mitigate floods and droughts, and replenish aquifers. We will support integrated resource management approaches, which are the best method to balance demands for resources for agriculture, people, and ecosystems.
- "Increase access to sound and affordable financial and risk management services, such as insurance instruments, savings accounts, loans, and other financial tools that assist male and female small-scale producers, laborers and SME owners. To increase access to these services, we will work with partner countries to support policy reform in the financial and insurance sectors to expand the reach of microfinance and other financial institutions. We will also support reform and implementation of policy and regulations that promote private sector entrepreneurship, and investments in competitive agribusinesses of all sizes.
- "Strengthen agricultural producer organizations that can better represent the interests of men and women producers and entrepreneurs in government policymaking; help them engage in bulk purchases of farming and aquaculture inputs at lower prices, and tap potential economies of scale in storage and distribution; serve as an efficient conduit for disseminating training, market, and management information; and assist in cooperatively meeting regulatory and market standards.
- "Strengthen regional harmonization and coordination that will add value to activities at the country level. This includes harmonization of laws and regulations governing the release of varieties and trade in seeds, more efficient supply chains for fertilizers and other inputs, efficient exchange of best practices and knowledge for similar agroecological conditions, and shared approaches to help producers adapt to the effects of global climate change.
- Expanding markets and trade
- "Increasing the efficiency of agricultural producers will not result in higher incomes and reduced hunger unless surplus harvest and products can be sold in well-functioning local, national, regional or international markets.24 Agribusinesses, including SMEs, are a pivotal link between small-scale producers and markets to purchase inputs and to sell products. Lack of transparent regulations, inconsistent and unpredictable public policies, and few mechanisms to enforce contracts between businesses deter private investment and limit the ability of agricultural producers and businesses to access capital. This situation reduces the incentives for agricultural producers to increase the quantity, quality, and value of their agricultural production.
- "Trade also plays a critical role in food security. With rising population growth and urbanization, international and regional trade is essential to achieve broad-based economic development and food security. Development of strong, integrated regional agriculture and food markets will increase the availability of safe and nutritious food, decrease local prices, and expand economic growth.
- "Our potential investments to expand markets and trade include those that:
- "Expand market information for producers and enterprise owners, including through programs that focus on equitable access for women. Greater access to market information will increase the ability of small-scale agricultural producers to participate in formal and higher-value markets. Information-sharing tools, such as sending market information via mobile phones and the internet, enable agricultural producers to negotiate better prices with buyers, match producers with new and distant markets, and help farmers and fishers in planning their production and harvests. Producer organizations and commercial commodity exchanges can serve as conduits of market information, increasing price transparency between remote buyers and sellers.
- "Improve post-harvest market infrastructure to make markets work better for women and men agricultural producers and extend the reach of nutritious foods. Post-harvest losses such as spoilage in storage and transit reduce the economic and nutritive value of fruits, vegetables, fish, and other products that are critical for quality diets. Post- harvest market infrastructure investments include public and private facilities that are used for grading, storage, and processing; improved technology for food storage and safety; energy and telecommunication systems; and roads that can deliver rural services and connect producers to markets.
- "Improve access to business development and financial services to improve the productivity, value-added and competitiveness of agribusinesses of all sizes.
- "Enhance animal, plant, and food safety by improving standards and creating strong regulatory frameworks to expand trade.
- "Reduce the time and cost of moving goods across borders, including through the harmonization of policies and regulations and tariff reductions, to open up reliable access to regional markets and encourage staple foods to move from areas of surplus to areas of deficit.
- "Create an enabling policy environment for agribusiness growth by improving the ability of partner governments to collect and analyze market information; training private sector trade associations in how to engage local and national governments; providing opportunities for the private sector to engage with governments and regional organizations; seeking reductions in government controls on commodity prices; protecting intellectual property; and supporting reform and implementation of policy and regulations that promote private sector entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment in competitive agribusinesses of all sizes.
- Increasing economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities
- "Efforts to include families and communities that are vulnerable and very poor are critical to ensuring that growth is broad- based and sustainable.These efforts should begin at the community level.We will design and implement programs that enable the rural poor to participate in and contribute to food security.We will strive to promote inclusive rural growth by integrating humanitarian and development resources and bridging the gap between these two types of assistance.
- "The Community Development Fund (CDF) is a new resource provided through FTF that will target investments to community-based interventions aimed at increasing the resilience of the rural poor and accelerating their participation in agricultural development and food security programs. USG resources to support community-level development activities are often generated by the sale of USG food assistance, or monetization. Through CDF, we will pilot the use of cash to fund community-level development activities directly when the process of monetization is not contributing to country-level development objectives. While the value of non-emergency resources provided for community-based development will remain the same, an increasing amount of these resources will be provided directly in cash – freeing up food assistance that is needed for emergency programs.
- "Our investments to increase economic resilience through CDF and other FTF funds may include those that:
- "Promote an enabling policy environment that ensures secure and efficient access to and management of land and natural resources; encourages reasonable regulation of migration and employment that enables labor mobility and flexibility of livelihood strategies; and promotes small enterprise development.
- "Support effective delivery and implementation of programs aimed at building household and community assets, diversifying rural livelihoods, and improving nutritional status. “Productive safety nets,” for example, provide resources (food or cash) to households engaged in public works, training programs, or other activities as a way of assisting households to meet nutritional and other basic needs while increasing their economic potential.
- "Build in-country capacity to manage risk through early warning systems and markets for micro-insurance, including health, life, and other products tailored to the needs of vulnerable households and communities. These products serve dual purposes: (1) they help anticipate and even reduce humanitarian requirements by providing governments, local communities, and households with the tools that they need to reduce risk, and (2) they help rural households and communities protect their assets in the face of unexpected, catastrophic events. We will work to integrate U.S. humanitarian resources with development resources in support of public and private sector capacity for risk management.
- "Increase the benefits of local and regional food assistance procurement to smallholder farmers through procurement programs like the World Food Program’s “Purchase for Progress,” which not only provides guaranteed markets for smallholder production, but helps build their capacity to participate robustly in those markets.
- "Adapt and deliver extension and financial services and improved technologies to very poor communities. Distance, illiteracy, gender, opportunity costs, social exclusion, and other factors may marginalize communities and households, reducing their access to mainstream development interventions. In addition to promoting policies that address systemic constraints, we will tackle these constraints through community-based interventions that are designed to reach the vulnerable and very poor."
Focus Countries were chosen based on the following criteria:
- "Opportunity for Partnership: We seek to work in countries that place a high priority on food security for all of their citizens and that are committed to working in partnership with, among others, donors, civil society, international organizations, and the private sector. Our assessment is based on a range of factors, including basic political stability and the absence of conflict, the quality of governance, the overall economic policy environment, and the commitment to design and implement a high-quality strategy to enhance food security.
- "Potential for Agricultural-led Growth: Within our strategy, the principle mechanism for reducing extreme hunger and poverty is agricultural-led growth. Thus, we will prioritize countries where poverty is still predominantly rural and where there is significant potential for improvements in agricultural productivity and market development.
- "Opportunity for Regional Synergies: We will work with countries that present strong opportunities to strengthen regional trade and development corridors, integrate markets and accelerate regional growth, and play a major role in regional trade.
- "Resource availability: A central tenet of our strategy is that creating lasting progress in food security will require deep investments in agricultural, economic, and social systems. To achieve this, our resources will be concentrated in a set of countries that have committed a substantial proportion of their own resources to provide the level of support necessary to catalyze growth and significantly contribute to accelerating progress toward the MDGs. We are committed to coordinating with development partners to leverage additional resources, but recognize that prioritization and strategic choices are still required due to resource constraints."
Focus Countries include: Africa:
Articles and Resources
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- Larry Nowels, "Feed the Future: Navigating Through the U.S. Budget Tsunami, Global Agricultural Development Initiative Issue Brief, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, October 2011.
- Jill Richardson, "Tom Vilsack on Feeding the World," La Vida Locavore, November 11, 2011.