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Washington, D.C. – Members of the House and Senate yesterday each introduced legislation to authorize the Feed the Future Initiative. The House’s Feed the Future
Global Food Security Act of 2014 and the Senate’s Global Food Security Act of 2014 were introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), respectively. The bills are cosponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
Feed the Future aims to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, strengthen maternal and child nutrition, and build capacity for long-term growth. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, there are more than 500 million family farms in the world, and the majority are in developing countries.
“We are delighted to see bipartisan legislation introduced in both the House and Senate,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This proves that ending hunger is not a partisan endeavor but a priority that should be held by everyone.”
Both bills will build upon the progress already made through Feed the Future by developing a whole-of-government strategy that supports country ownership, nutrition, and food security. Through this legislation, assistance to small-scale farmers, especially women, will be prioritized. Additionally, each bill seeks to improve maternal and child nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday. These aims are consistent with the nutrition strategy introduced by the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier this year.
“Women farmers produce well over half of all the food grown in the world, including up to 80 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 60 percent in Asia,” added Beckmann. “Eliminating barriers for women farmers will not only help to sustain their long-term economic prosperity, but will also help to improve their children’s nutrition, health, and lifelong potential.”
Introduced before Congress left for recess, both bills will have to wait until after the November elections for consideration.
“This legislation is a strong move in the right direction,” said Beckmann. “We urge the House and Senate to pass their respective bills this year in order to ensure a permanent program that will help move us toward ending hunger around the world within our lifetime.”
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