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USAID’s Shah Announces Bureau For Food Security; Bread For The World Releases 2011 Hunger Report

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah announced on Monday the creation of a Bureau for Food Security within the agency “to manage the Obama administration’s Feed the Future initiative, which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to turn over to USAID,” National Journal Daily reports. According to the article, Shah said, “This bureau will lead a whole-of-government effort to implement President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, a multibillion-dollar international effort led by USAID to develop the agricultural sectors of a number of countries throughout the developing world.” 

At a Capitol Hill briefing last week on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, Clinton and Shah informed lawmakers of their intent to have USAID oversee Feed the Future, National Journal Daily writes, citing “published reports.” This action does not require Congressional approval, according to the article.

Shah, who on Monday spoke at a Bread for the World 2011 Hunger Report press conference, “did not provide details of the bureau’s organization, but a USAID spokeswoman said that the new operation will eventually have a staff of 80 to 90 … The Food Security Bureau will handle USAID’s traditional agricultural-development programs as well as Feed the Future.” William Garvelink, who currently serves as USAID’s Feed the Future deputy coordinator for development, will head the new Bureau of Food Security, according to the article (Hagstrom, 11/22).

According to VOA News, “[i]n its 2011 Hunger Report, the advocacy group Bread for the World sa[id] … Feed the Future may be the best opportunity in decades for the U.S. to make significant progress against global hunger. In the past, Bread for the World has been critical of U.S. foreign policy for failing to focus on poverty reduction.”

VOA News writes that during the press conference, Bread for the World President David “Beckmann noted that Feed the Future is different from previous development efforts because, for one thing, the people receiving the aid set the priorities for how it will be used.”

“We’re trying to get agricultural growth of a kind that will reduce poverty and hunger. So it makes sense to try and track whether it’s really working by checking whether, in fact, babies are better nourished,” Beckmann said of Feed the Future’s incorporation of examining childhood malnutrition.

VOA News reports that “Shah said in the short term, Feed the Future aims to help end food insecurity in five to 10 countries. So far, he said, USAID has reviewed plans from five countries that would help 6.5 million households” (Baragona, 11/23).

According to a Bread for the World press release, the 2011 Hunger Report “focuses on the global response to the rise in hunger as a result of the 2008 food price crisis. The report explores the role of the United States in mobilizing global commitments to increase investments in agriculture, food security, and nutrition in developing countries” (11/22).

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