Search Penny Hill Press

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Obama Administration’s Feed the Future Initiative

Melissa D. Ho
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Charles E. Hanrahan
Senior Specialist in Agricultural Policy

The global food price crisis of 2007-2008 and the global economic crisis resulted in an increase in the proportion and absolute number of hungry people worldwide to historic levels, over 1 billion in 2009. In 2010, the estimate of hungry people in the world declined to 925 million, a decrease of about 9.6%. The vast majority of the world’s undernourished live in developing countries; South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa account for 63% and 26% of the total, respectively.

In June 2009, at the G8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, President Obama pledged $3.5 billion over three years (FY2010 to FY2012) to a global hunger and food security initiative to address hunger and poverty worldwide. The U.S. commitment is part of a global pledge, by the G20 countries and others, of more than $20 billion. In May 2010, the Department of State officially launched the Administration’s global hunger and food security initiative, called Feed the Future (FtF). The Department of State was the lead agency initially in developing the Feed the Future strategy, while the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the primary agency responsible for coordinating its implementation. Feed the Future builds on the five principles for sustainable food security first articulated at L’Aquila and endorsed at the 2009 World Summit on Food Security in Rome: supporting comprehensive strategies; investment through country-owned plans; improving stronger coordination among donors; leveraging effective multilateral institutions; and delivering on sustained and accountable commitments. The two primary objectives of Feed the Future are (1) to accelerate inclusive agricultural sector growth, and (2) to improve the nutritional status in developing countries, particularly of women and children. Currently, Feed the Future is focusing activities in 20 developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Investments will take place in two phases, depending on the extent that country investment plans (CIPs) have been developed in a given host country.

The Administration’s FY2011 budget request includes $1.64 billion for FtF activities, which is about 3% of the total international affairs budget request, and is about 40% greater than the estimated FY2010 allocation to similar activities. The increase is largely due to a new request in FY2011 of $408 million for contribution to a newly created multilateral trust fund for global food security established at the World Bank. The Administration’s FY2011 budget request for Feed the Future represents only a portion of foreign assistance requested for food and agriculture activities. Separately, for FY2011, the Administration is also requesting an additional $4.2 billion for humanitarian and emergency assistance, which includes $1.690 billion for Food for Peace Title II emergency and non-emergency food aid; $1.605 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance; and $861 million for International Disaster Assistance. A significant portion of these programs include activities related to food security and agricultural development.

The 112
th Congress may be faced with several issues and policy options regarding agricultural development, global food security, food aid, and U.S. foreign aid reform. Congress plays a central role in funding foreign assistance programs, and will continue consideration of appropriations for agriculture development and food security-related activities for FY2011 and FY2012. Congress continues to consider leadership, technical capacity, and accountability issues related to the implementation of the initiative at USAID, in coordination with other U.S. development agencies in a so-called “whole of government” approach, and in partnership with other governments and institutions abroad. The current fiscal situation and the shift in congressional leadership in the House may result in additional debate and discussion about the Administration’s priorities and funding requests related to food security and agricultural development.

Date of Report: January 10, 2011
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: R41612
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.