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U.S. Leadership in the Fight Against Global Hunger and Poverty

February 25, 2009

The Asia Foundation’s President, Doug Bereuter, was part of a bipartisan group of foreign policy and development leaders convened by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, which called today for a renewed U.S. commitment to alleviating global poverty through agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the two regions with more than 700 million of the world’s poorest people, most of them small farmers and their families.

The Chicago Council’s report outlines five recommendations, with 21 action items, for how the United States can provide the necessary leadership to revitalize the international fight against global hunger and poverty. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, increased investments in agricultural research could help more than 270 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia lift themselves out of poverty by 2020.

Major recommendations include:

– increased agricultural education and extension at all levels,

– greater funding for agricultural research, more emphasis on expanding rural and agricultural infrastructure,

– reform of U.S. institutions that deliver agricultural development assistance, and their interactions with international institutions focused on agricultural development assistance, and

– reform of U.S. policies that discourage agricultural development abroad.

In its recommendations on reforming U.S. institutions that deliver agricultural development assistance, the report notes that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) permanent American employees has dropped from 4,058 in 1980 to 2,200 in 2008 with only a total of 16 agricultural experts on the USAID staff.

Read the report in full here.


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