Bread for the World is praising both Republicans and Democrats for introducing legislation to fight world hunger. But now Congress must get to work and pass the bills for them to take effect.
Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, introduced the Feed the Future Global Food Security Act of 2014 in the House of Representatives. Fellow House member Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) is co-sponsoring the bill.
Over in the Senate, Democrat Bob Casey (PA) put forth the Global Food Security Act. Casey’s bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
Both the House and Senate bill support funding an initiative called Feed the Future. The idea is giving small farmers in developing countries the tools to grow crops. Empowering the small farmer, especially women, is the path toward ending world hunger. There are currently 805 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger.
Feed the Future goes beyond just growing more food, but also making it the most nutritious kinds. This is vital for fighting the malnutrition which causes stunted growth in children.
A new report cites an example of how in Bangladesh, “the use of improved fertilizer, rice varieties and management practices helped farmers increase rice yields by up to 20 percent.” Food producers are also shown how to fortify their crops with vitamins and minerals.
Bread for the World, which advocates for legislation to fight hunger, is excited about the prospects of these bills. Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, says,
We are delighted to see bipartisan legislation introduced in both the House and Senate. This proves that ending hunger is not a partisan endeavor but a priority that should be held by everyone…..We urge the House and Senate to pass their respective bills this year in order to ensure a permanent program that will help move us toward ending hunger around the world within our lifetime.”
Congress is on recess until after the elections, after which time the bills could be passed. The Feed the Future bill highlights how important the fight against hunger is in terms of national security. The House version of the bill cites the 2014 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the United States Intelligence Community report which says,
lack of adequate food will be a destabilizing factor in countries important to United States national security that do not have the financial or technical abilities to solve their internal food security problems,’’ and ‘‘food and nutrition insecurity in weakly governed countries might also provide opportunities for insurgent groups to capitalize on poor conditions, exploit international food aid, and discredit governments for their inability to address basic needs.’’
Increasing food production in developing countries would be in the best interests of all nations. It would be a stabilizing factor in world affairs. We are going to need this type of agricultural assistance, especially in all these countries afflicted by war and natural disasters like drought. Rebuilding their food production will be vital to their reconstruction and development.