With many words in this column, we have discussed what not to cut from the federal budget. Namely, administration requests to fund agriculture development, especially in Africa, under the Feed the Future initiative and the Global Agriculture Food Security Program.
Here is the Yin and the Yang of development aid spending: In the U.S., it is on the chopping block, threatened by budget cutters sharpening their knives; in China it is on an expansion course, favored by a government seeking to accumulate influence and riches in the developing world, particularly Africa.
Is the glass one-quarter full or three-quarters empty?
There’s been a lot of quiet clamor-raising going on recently.
With the arrival of spring comes an enduring optimism: Hope springs eternal.
The women farmers at the foot of the Lugulu Hills paused from the preparation of their fields for the planting season and looked forward to the harvest.
I returned from a day in the field with Kenyan smallholder farmers last week to find these words from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack as the Newsbrief’s Quote of the Week:“As I travel around the world talking about American agriculture, the one thing that has struck me is how jealous the rest of the world is about extension, how they would love to have the capacity that we have in this country and often, unfortunately, take for granted, of the ability to reach out and gain very useful information and insights to improve productivity.”
Exactly, I thought.
It’s been Christmas in February this week for thousands of smallholder farmers in western Kenya. Seeds and fertilizer for the imminent planting season arrived.
As the budget battles intensify, a reality check is in order: Slashing foreign aid targeted for boosting development in poor countries will hardly make a dent in the deficit. The savings will be negligible, but the consequences would be huge.
Joe Henry is raising the clamor step by step.
The writing on the wall, foretelling the turmoil that has roiled North Africa and the Middle East in recent weeks, appeared during the food crisis of 2008. It was then that staple food shortages and soaring prices sent protesters into the streets in dozens of countries in the developing world.
For those of us who were listening to the President’s State of the Union address this week, listening for a reference to the fight against hunger through agriculture development, we heard this near the end of the speech:
Once again, the great paradox of Africa emerges: hunger in one part of a country, food surplus in another.
As 2011 dawns, the United States government is poised to lead the greatest assault on global hunger through agriculture development since the Green Revolution half a century ago.
The college football bowl season, which begins this weekend, celebrates food and eating almost as much as it celebrates gridiron excellence. Just consider how many of this season’s bowls – Bowls! The very word comes straight from the kitchen — are sponsored by food companies or named after food: