CWS urges U.S. to restore funding for global hunger

January 24, 2011

NEW YORK

As global food prices again begin to rise, Church World Service (CWS) is urging President Barack Obama to restore funding for a program to address hunger and food security in developing nations by improving the productivity of small farmers.

As global food prices again begin to rise, Church World Service (CWS) is urging President Barack Obama to restore funding for a program to address hunger and food security in developing nations by improving the productivity of small farmers.

In a Jan. 18 letter to President Obama, the global humanitarian agency joined with other agencies to express concern that the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) Trust Fund is at risk as budget negotiators look for ways to trim government spending.

The GAFSP trust fund is a key component of the administration’s global hunger fighting initiative, called “Feed the Future.”

The letter, signed by 28 organizations, urges President Obama to “make an interagency transfer of at least $100 million to the GAFSP for the period from October 2010-March 2011,” both to fund the program and to encourage other international donors to deliver on their pledges.

The Obama administration initially pledged $475 million, with other donor nations also committed to contribute. The U.S so far has delivered just $67 million of its pledge and the newly negotiated FY11 budget includes no further funding.

In a meeting earlier this month with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) officials, CWS Executive Director and CEO John L. McCullough praised U.S. recognition of the importance of coupling nutrition with food security in the Feed the Future initiative.

Following news of the FY11 budget’s omission of funding for GAFSP, McCullough said, “The U.S. has never failed to address the issue of global hunger or to provide the kind of support farmers in developing nations need to improve their crops to the point that they are abundant, diverse and nutritious.

“It would be detrimental to the success of the Feed the Future initiative if the U.S., by pulling back on its commitment to fund GAFSP, sent other potential donor nations the message that the program is not important. It is a vital component and the administration should fund it immediately.”

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