“At a time when nearly one in three people globally do not have access to adequate food — the United States is committing to rallying our partners to address immediate malnutrition and to ensure that we can sustainably feed the world for decades to come. To that end, the United States is making a $10 billion commitment to end hunger and invest in food systems at home and abroad.”– President Biden, UN General Assembly Address September 21, 2021
The United States is committed to developing innovative, inclusive, science-based, and creative solutions to food systems transformation. It is committed to leveraging the power of well-functioning markets at the local and international levels to bolster food security and sustainable food systems by expanding income opportunities, stabilizing food supply and prices, reducing food loss and waste, and improving dietary diversity and nutrition.
Building sustainable food systems requires work in all three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic, and environmental. More efficient food systems are critical for alleviating poverty, meeting the world’s food needs, and shrinking agriculture’s environmental impact. Helping all the components of food systems adapt to a warming planet and reduce global emissions through climate-smart agricultural practices is also critical to ensure long-term food and nutritional security.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power joined UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and global partners in the September 23 UN Food Systems Summit to spur urgent action to end hunger and malnutrition and build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food systems at home and abroad. Demonstrating the U.S. commitment to accelerating progress toward these goals, the United States announced a planned multi-year investment of more than $10 billion to promote food systems transformation through innovation and climate-smart agriculture, improved infrastructure for food access and inclusive market opportunities, programs prioritizing women’s and children’s needs, improving nutrition, reducing food loss and waste, and climate change mitigation and adaptation within our own country and worldwide. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to advance these critical initiatives.
Domestically, we are setting pathways forward for meeting these challenges, including with historic investments to build back better in the face of the climate crisis and economic disruptions from COVID-19. Out of our total $10 billion commitment, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced we intend to invest $5 billion to strengthen food systems in the United States, including through investments in systems and infrastructure to ensure access to healthy diets for all Americans, and investments in fair and efficient markets to improve the inclusivity and resilience of our food systems. Other domestic investments support the expansion of climate smart agriculture and forestry.
The United States is committed to not only addressing these challenges domestically but also globally, in partnership with governments, local actors, and the private sector. Working with Congress, and building on a long history as the largest provider of international agriculture, economic development, and nutrition assistance as well as humanitarian assistance, USAID Administrator and Feed the Future Coordinator Samantha Power announced a $5 billion commitment over five years to Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, and an expansion of Feed the Future target countries. Launched in 2010 to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition, Feed the Future supports countries’ pathways to food system transformation, drawing on U.S. expertise and experience in innovation, technology, and research and development.
International programs under the Feed the Future initiative and other domestic initiatives that support the UN Food Systems Summit goals include:
- Financing for Food Security and Agricultural Projects: The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) set a goal to finance $1 billion in food security and agriculture projects over five years. DFC will provide debt and equity financing and political risk insurance to private sector projects in areas including agricultural production, irrigation, food processing, food storage, shipping and logistics, and fintech related to food systems.
- Financing for Nutrition in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is joining an existing collaboration with the DFC and the Eleanor Crook Foundation to mobilize $100 million of financing over five years to tackle the root causes of malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries, address the effects of COVID-19 on malnutrition and food insecurity, and leverage private sector solutions to reduce malnutrition globally. Furthermore, this collaboration will address the financing gap for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the nutritious food space given that SMEs provide the majority of food consumed in Sub-Saharan Africa, but often lack access to the capital needed to improve and grow.
- Food Fortification: USAID also committed to invest $38 million over five years to expand large-scale food fortification to deliver essential vitamins and minerals to those who need them most. USAID’s investment will support scaling up large-scale food fortification through global leadership, context-specific expertise, and partnerships with governments, private sector, and civil society. In addition, to the $38 million planned investment, USAID will launch a new large-scale food fortification partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF to address widespread malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries.
- Food Loss and Waste Reduction: Globally, eight to ten percent of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to food loss and waste. USAID announced it intends to invest $60 million over five years in new research awards that will contribute critical solutions to reduce food loss and waste. This includes a $25 million award with an additional $15 million in potential funding to Tufts University to lead the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Systems for Nutrition. The United States joined the global coalition on food loss and waste “Food is Never Waste” and affirmed and strengthened its ongoing commitments to reducing food loss and waste domestically.
- School Meals Coalition: The United States joined the global coalition on “School Meals: Nutrition, Health and Education for Every Child” to help ensure that every child has access to nutritious meals in school by 2030. The coalition will support comprehensive and effective school feeding programs worldwide by advocating for multi-sector coordination, stable funding sources, and ongoing research to improve program quality and efficiency.
- Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF): With its goals of sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, CSAF can play an important role in meeting global goals on food security and climate change mitigation and adaptation. At the Food Systems Summit, the United States and the United Arab Emirates continued to advance a global initiative – the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) – with the goal of dramatically increasing public and private investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. The number of countries supporting AIM for Climate has more than tripled since President Biden previewed it at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April. In addition, the United States announced at the Food Systems Summit, the formation of a global coalition “Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation.” The objective of this coalition is to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes agricultural sustainability across social, economic, and environmental dimensions. To further advance CSAF domestically, the U.S. released its CSAF strategy and is enacting a number of conservation programs in support of CSAF.
- Gender Responsive Agricultural Systems Policy (GRASP): A new USAID-funded three-and-a-half-year virtual fellowship program for female policymakers in Africa catalyzes policy change that promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment in food systems. The GRASP Fellowship will support up to 100 female policy makers in Africa with networks, mentorship, and targeted leadership and professional development opportunities necessary to shape policy that removes obstacles to women’s full participation in creating food-secure communities.
- Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP): The United States continues to exercise leadership in GAFSP – a $1.7 billion multilateral financing mechanism that has helped the world’s poorest countries increase investments in agriculture and food security. The United States is calling for action by the GAFSP Coordination Unit to develop a strategy for systematically integrating climate-related considerations into its operations, including through thematic calls for proposals as well as robust standards for project design, implementation, and measurement of results. This effort will help to further strengthen the existing climate focus in the GAFSP portfolio.