New Report Urges a U.S. Global Food Security Focus on Science, Trade and Business


May 21, 2013 WASHINGTON, DC – A new report from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs urges the U.S. government to focus its global food security strategy on prioritizing science, increasing trade flows for agriculture and food, and incentivizing greater business activity in low-income countries. The report, Advancing Global Food Security: The Power of Science, Trade, and Business, makes four broad policy recommendations composed of 21 specific actions to define the next steps for U.S. global food security policy.

Key recommendations include:
  • Appoint the Vice President to lead the whole-of-government approach for food security, and, in this role, to chair a National Science Commission on Global Food Security. 
  • Double U.S. investments in agricultural and food research between now and 2023. Focus research dollars on priorities that will be most important to meeting future demand: equipping agriculture in the U.S. and in low-income countries to be resilient to water shortages, climate change and weather variability; aligning agricultural production and nutrition goals; and ensuring agricultural production builds, not harms, the natural resource base.
  • Pass authorizing legislation that formalizes a U.S. commitment to food security through agricultural development.   
  • Increase funding for global agricultural development to build research and extension capacity in low-income countries. 
  • Reform food aid by moving to a cash-based system and ending monetization. 
  • Leverage the Trans-Pacific Partnership and U.S.-EU Free Trade Agreement to remove barriers to agriculture and food trade.
  • Create more incentives for business investment in low-income countries by reducing regulatory barriers and increasing lending for agricultural development.
"The recommendations also include many no-cost and low cost options,” said Dan Glickman, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and co-chair of the group that signed the report. “While we realize that the current debt and deficit challenge makes this a difficult time for Congress to increase spending, failing to address the problems that a dynamic agriculture is facing will place our economic and national security interests at great risk. Making the investments now is the most prudent course of action for America and the world."

A bipartisan group of agriculture, development and U.S. foreign policy experts developed the recommendations. The group found that a U.S. global food security strategy focused on science, trade and business would alleviate poverty, support stability and economic development, and bring benefits to U.S. farmers, businesses and research institutions. 

“Growth in the agriculture sector is twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors,” said Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the UN World Food Program and the group’s co-chair. “A global food security strategy centered on agricultural development will alleviate poverty, guard the world’s natural resource base, make agriculture more resilient to climate change and contribute to economic growth and social stability in low-income countries.”

The study finds that although there has been progress in advancing global food security, investments in science need to be ramped up to increase production sustainably and nutritiously. Innovations especially need to be targeted to smallscale farmers in developing countries, whose productivity must be increased if the world is to raise food production by 60 percent by 2050.

The report is being released today at The Chicago Council’s annual Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, DC. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, CARE President and CEO Helene Gayle, and CEO of FEED Lauren Bush Lauren will deliver keynote addresses. Event sponsors include Abbott, DuPont, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and Monsanto Company. Watch live streaming video of the event beginning at 8:30 am EDT at thechicagocouncil.org/livestream and follow @GlobalAgDev and #globalag for updates.


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About The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, founded in 1922, is a prominent, independent and nonpartisan organization committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning. Long known for its studies of American public opinion on foreign policy matters, the Council also contributes to discussions of critical global issues through studies, task force reports and leadership dialogue. The Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative provides policy analysis and recommendations on U.S. global agricultural development policies. Follow @globalagdev and sign up for the Global Food for Thought news brief at thechicagocouncil.org/globalfoodforthought.


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