Yesterday, Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada's First District sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the U.S. State Department to continue its commitment to reducing global hunger and food insecurity.
In her letter, Titus highlighted the critical work that the State Department has done over the past four years under the leadership of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Through the Feed the Future initiative, the State Department has worked work with 19 focus countries to assist smallholder farmers and local communities. This work has increased food supply, improved self-sufficiency, and reduced poverty. In addition, Feed the Future nutrition programs have helped 8.8 million children who were facing acute malnutrition. She also noted the valuable contribution of the State Department's 1,000 Days Partnership to improving education and nutrition for mothers and children in the first 1,000 days of a child's life, from pregnancy to age two.
Congresswoman Titus has also been a strong advocate for eliminating hunger in the United States. With almost one out of every four children in America going hungry, including 170,000 school children in Southern Nevada, Representative Titus has offered two amendments to the Farm Bill being debated this week that would help reduce hunger domestically. The first would continue the Hunger Free Communities Grant Program and the second would establish the Weekends Without Hunger pilot program to help local organizations provide nutritious food to school children on weekends and school holidays during the school year. She is also a cosponsor of an amendment to eliminate the devastating cuts to the SNAP program.
"I believe that we can and should be doing more to end hunger in the U.S. and abroad," Congresswoman Titus said. "The United States has been a global leader in this arena and, with the international community and partners in civil society, has made great strides in the effort to end global hunger and improve food security. This important work has changed the lives of millions of people, including 8.8 million children, but there is much to be done. Almost one billion people still suffer from chronic hunger and more than 3.5 million children die every year from undernutrition. Together our efforts can continue to improve outcomes and break the cycle of poverty, ensuring healthier children and families, greater economic prosperity, increased national security, and stronger communities around the world."
The full text of Titus's letter to Secretary Kerry can be found here:
Dear Secretary Kerry:
Over the past four years, the U.S. State Department under Secretary Clinton has expanded and strengthened its commitment to addressing global hunger, making food security a top foreign policy priority. The State Department has done excellent work, bringing together U.S. agencies, the international community, civil society organizations, and private sector partners to make real progress toward ending global hunger and improving food security around the world. Global food security does not often make the headlines, but there has been real, measurable progress.
President Barack Obama's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, has refocused our foreign aid resources, supporting country-driven approaches to agricultural development with input and collaboration from local organizations and leaders. This has enabled the U.S. to help build lasting results for smallholder farmers and their families, increasing food supply, improving self-sufficiency, and reducing poverty.
Between 2009 and 2012, Feed the Future helped 1.8 million people in 19 countries adopt better farming technologies and management practices leading to improved yields and incomes. Nutrition programs have reached 8.8 million children, treating acute malnutrition and reducing anemia. Food production has increased by 5-18 percent in Feed the Future countries. These efforts have led to improved nutrition, healthier children and families, increased economic prosperity, and stronger communities.
Similarly, the State Department has worked with the 1,000 Days Partnership to promote improved education and nutrition for mothers and children during the 1,000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's 2nd birthday. Better nutrition during these critical days can have a life-changing impact on a child's future and help break the cycle of poverty.
These achievements are remarkable, but there is much to be done. There are still almost one billion people suffering from chronic hunger, and more than 3.5 million children who die every year from undernutrition. The malnourished children who do survive experience stunted growth that haunts them for the rest of their lives, impacting their health and productivity. Chronic hunger is also devastating to communities.
I encourage you in your role as Secretary of State to continue to strengthen the State Department's commitment to reducing global hunger and ending food insecurity. The United States must remain a global leader in the fight against hunger. This is the right policy morally, economically, and for our national security.
Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Congress