Smith Anti-Hunger Bill Passed by Foreign Affairs Committee
Bipartisan Bill Takes Aim at Hunger, Starvation
Bipartisan legislation to take on global hunger and help the world’s poorest countries develop better agricultural practices has been introduced by Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chairman of the House panel that oversees global health initiatives. The legislation, the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 1567), is designed to help prevent starvation and famine, and reduce hunger and malnutrition by enabling countries to feed their own people.
“In essence, it is a program that teaches a man to fish, instead of giving man a fish. As such it is economical in the long run, and should lead to a reduction in the amount of money we spend on emergency food aid,” said Chairman Smith, who has spearheaded similar U.S. international health and nutritional initiatives throughout his career, dating back to legislation he successfully offered in 1985 to restore and double the commitment to the then Child Survival Fund program, which helped protect children who would otherwise die from preventable, curable diseases. “This is important legislation which will help provide a long-term solution to global hunger by authorizing the existing national food security program coordinated by USAID commonly known as Feed the Future. This program strengthens nutrition, especially for children during that critical first 1000 day-window, from conception to the child’s second birthday, and also teaches small-scale farmers techniques to increase agricultural yield, thereby helping nations achieve food security, something that is in the national security interest of the United States as well.”
Smith is joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Karen Bass (D-CA), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), David G. Reichert (R-WA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and James P. McGovern (D-MA). The co-sponsors are well-known leaders in the fight against global hunger and malnutrition, as well as champions of small-scale producers’ efforts to lift themselves out of poverty.
“Our aid is leveraged with that of other countries, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and – especially – faith-based organizations, whose great work on the ground in so many different countries impacts so many lives.” Click here to read Rep. Smith’s statement on committee passage of HR 1567.
The program’s goals are to build or rebuild local capacity and sustainability, linking local entrepreneurs to the local and regional economy. It also focuses on nutrition programs during the first 1000 days of life, from conception to the child’s second birthday.
In the past year, Feed the Future has helped seven million farmers across the globe increase harvests, resulting in improved nutrition for 12.5 million children. To give one example, in Ethiopia stunting rates were driven down by nine percent in just three years, resulting in roughly 160,000 fewer children suffering from malnutrition.
“Feed the Future also helps small farmers, many of whom are women, so that they are better able to earn income to support their families,” Smith said.
The legislation seeks to capture and sustain the successes the U.S. government is already achieving through its Feed the Future Initiative. Drawing on resources and expertise from 11 federal agencies, Feed the Future is investing in national agricultural investment strategies and is helping many countries in need, including 19 focus countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, transform their agricultural sectors and sustainably produce enough nutritious food to feed their people.
Over 50 non-governmental, faith-based and university organizations have signed on to a statement of support of the Smith legislation. These include American Jewish World Services, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Bread for the World, Food for the Hungry, InterAction, Lutheran World Relief, Salesian Missions and World Vision.