Drought / East Africa / Ethiopia / Farming Systems / Food Security / Kenya / Pastoralism / Somalia / Vulnerability

Hillary Clinton at IFPRI urges US government to invest in, not cut, a ‘Feed the Future’ program giving farm aid to Africa

Hillary Clinton speaks at IFPRI on the drought in the Horn

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on 11 August 2011 about the need to invest in aid for small-scale farmers in Africa and other poor regions as well as help in mitigating the ongoing drought/hunger/famine crisis in the Horn of Africa (photo credit: Yassir Islam, HarvestPlus).

From Xinhuanet

In a speech at the International Food Policy Research Institute yesterday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged, in addition to calls for solving the current food crisis, ‘long-term thinking on food security in order to prevent such kind of disaster from happening again in the future.

Recalling the past crisis, Clinton said: “First comes a severe drought. Then crops fail, livestock perish, food prices soar, thousands of people die from starvation, most of them children, and thousands more pick up and move. Every few decades, the cycle repeats.”

She argued that the food shortages may be “triggered” by drought but not caused by it, rather by weak or non-existent agricultural system.

‘While hurrying to “deliver lifesaving assistance,” Clinton urged the U.S. to maintain focus on the future and continue to invest in long-term food security in countries that are ” susceptible to drought and food shortages.”

‘Clinton said in order to avoid future hunger crisis, infrastructure, governance, markets and education must be strengthened.

From the Washington Post

‘Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appealed Thursday for support for President Obama’s embattled global farm-aid program, saying that the reforms it was promoting had prevented the drought in East Africa from being worse.

‘The administration’s signature “Feed the Future” program is facing potentially steep cuts by Congress. The White House has requested $1.4 billion for the project in 2012. But a House Appropriations subcommittee recently slashed several accounts that could leave the program with about one-third less in funding.

Feed the Future is part of an international effort to improve the productivity of small farmers in Africa and other impoverished regions.

‘“While some might say that this is a conversation for another time—that we should worry about preventing food crises only after this one has passed—I respectfully disagree,” she said in a speech at the International Food Policy Research Institute, based in Washington.

“Right now . . . we must rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of food shortages, suffering and dislocation that we see playing out once again in the Horn of Africa.”

She said that, because of international agriculture programs, the number of Ethiopians at risk of starvation had plummeted from 13 million in the 2002 drought to 5 million in the current disaster. . . .’

Read the whole article in the Washington Post: Clinton: Don’t cut farm aid for Africa, 11 Aug 2011.

Read the whole article at Xinhuanet: US pledges additional famine aid to Horn of Africa, 12 Aug 2011.

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