U.S. President Barack Obama last week signed the Global Food Security Act into law. Here’s what it means to Cargill.
By Tom Vandyck
Strengthening global food security has long been a focus for Cargill. To that end, supporting the U.S. Global Food Security Act (GFSA), was a key priority.
The bill passed with bipartisan support and reauthorized the Feed the Future program, which provides a comprehensive approach for U.S. foreign assistance to low-income countries. It aims to reduce global poverty and hunger, and boost food and nutrition security, focusing specifically on smallholder farmers, women and children, and promoting sustainable farming practices, entrepreneurship and education.
Following the signing of the bill, President Barack Obama made statements that aligned with Cargill’s view on food security. “Development isn’t charity,” he said. “It’s one of the smartest investments we can make in our shared future, in our security, in our prosperity.”
Feed the Future, initially launched in 2009, harnesses the power of the private sector. In total it has generated more than $150 million in corporate contributions to support public-private partnerships, according to The Washington Post. Those investments have supported more than nine million farmers around the world, boosting their incomes by $800 million, and helping to feed 18 million children.
“The priorities set out in the Global Food Security Act align with our core business and philanthropic efforts,” said Michelle Grogg, Cargill’s senior director of corporate contributions and partnerships. “We recently presented a plan to work with our partners to improve the lives of one million people by 2020. This new law is a great boost for that work.”
The Cargill plan focuses on sustainable agricultural practices, improving market access and productivity for farmers, and supporting childhood nutrition and education around the world. “If we’re all on the same page about where we’re going, we’ll have the best chance of actually getting there,” said Grogg.
Among Cargill’s partners is CARE USA, which lauded the GFSA’s emphasis on smallholders and women. “Women farmers are a substantial part of the global agriculture workforce but do not have the same access to resources as men. Research shows that equal access to inputs, information and financing could result in 100 million to 150 million hungry people getting the food they need.”
Another important Cargill partner is the World Food Program. “The GFSA on its own will not end global hunger, but it will greatly help facilitate that goal,” the WFP stated after the bill’s signing. “It is important as both a symbolic gesture to the international community demonstrating U.S. government commitment to food security and as a legal mechanism to institutionalize food security policy priorities for this and subsequent Administrations and Congresses.”
Cargill looks forward to continued collaboration with governments, NGO and other private-sector leaders to advance global food security, sustainability and nutrition.
Published July 28, 2016