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Vilsack Announces New Approach to Food Security

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U.S. will focus on helping countries produce more of their own food.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said this week the U.S. will shift its emphasis in the fight against global hunger from giving emergency aid to helping countries produce more of their own food. Vilsack told the Chicago Council on Global Affairs the U.S. will focus on providing expertise and training to boost agricultural productivity abroad under the new approach. He says developing nations may also be able to produce more food for trade which will help improve the global economy.

Vilsack says this new approach is a more comprehensive view of food security that focuses on the notion that the country wants to make food more available and accessible and also make sure it's properly used. Vilsack didn't provide details on how the approach would be funded but said he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plan to meet 28 African ag ministers in the coming months to discuss the approach.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs says the U.S. is the world's largest donor of emergency food aid, mainly American crops, but spends 20 times as much on food aid to Africa as it spends on programs that could boost African food production. Spending on African farming projects was reduced to $60 million in 2006 from $400 million in the 1980s. President Obama has said his administration will ask Congress to double funding for ag development aid to $1 billion by next year.


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