Friday, July 08, 2011

Food Security Programs Need Funding Security

In early June, four countries--Liberia, Cambodia, Nepal, and Tajikistan--were chosen to receive funding from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), which allocated $160 million in support of food security programs. Unfortunately, the funding has already been depleted.

Back in July 2009, President Obama in global partnership with four nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made food security a key priority of international development by the passage of the GAFSP. It was created to support country-led programs that led to the management of their own food security initiatives.

Food security is closely tied to agriculture, which has proved fundamental in poverty reduction and increase in social stability. Farming empowers people to feed their families as well as make a living. However, agriculture is affected by many factors including international prices, climate change, water scarcity, supply and demand, infrastructure, and access to technology.

With extra funding, countries can work on programs that address these issues and make food production more competitive within the global market. The GAFSP is working to make this ideal reality but lack of funding makes it difficult to support countries in need. So far, the slogan has been "help a few, turn down many."

The voices of small-scale agriculturalists have been heard . Now, it's time for sustained investments to keep the funding doors open.

-Chelsey Dambro