U.S. Congress passes Global Food Security Act.
The bill ensures the continuation of President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to assist selected developing countries to increase their food production and security and improve nutrition for vulnerable populations.
Additionally, the bill confirms the role of the Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP), under which the U.S. provides cash for use in providing critical food assistance abroad as a supplement to in-kind donations of commodities under P.L.480 Title II. EFSP assistance may take the form of cash or vouchers as well as regional and local purchase, the purchase of food from countries or areas close to food emergency outbreaks. In 2015, half of the $2.1 billion in annual emergency U.S. food aid came from the EFSP.
According to a Congressional Research Service summary, the bill requires the president or a designee to coordinate the development and implementation of a whole-of-government Feed the Future Strategy to accomplish the following objectives: Eradicate hunger and malnutrition, especially for women and children; assist foreign countries to achieve long-term, sustainable, and inclusive agricultural development; Ensure the effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to further these objectives.
The bill sets forth requirements for the strategy and requires the president or a designee to coordinate the efforts of relevant federal departments and agencies in implementing it.
The bill specifies for the purposes of carrying out the Global Food Security Strategy, the Congress may provide assistance to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Specifically, the bill authorizes Congress to appropriate to those agencies a total of $1 billion for each of fiscal years 2017 and 2018 for the initiative.
President Obama responded to the House vote stating, “Today, I’m proud to see that Congress has passed S.1252, the Global Food Security Act of 2016, an overwhelmingly bipartisan piece of legislation that will put Feed the Future, our global hunger and food security initiative, into law.”
“This game-changing development initiative — the first of my Administration — has helped increase economic growth and stem the tide of global hunger, poverty and malnutrition over the span of just a few years,” President Obama said. “While we’ve already accomplished so much through this collaborative global partnership, I know that with the continued effort and support that this legislation provides, we can achieve what was just a few years ago the unimaginable: We can end global poverty and hunger within our lifetimes.”