International Development | Bulletin

April 2017

In 2016, AGree was active in the Global Agriculture Development Working Group, alongside producer groups, global agriculture development NGOs, and food and ag-focused foundations, to bring the voice of production agriculture to discussions about global food security. This group is now gearing up to champion international development as it relates to the 2018 farm bill.

As farm bill discussions ramp up, it is critical to build support for vital food security efforts internationally that are supported by U.S. policy and programs. While AGree is concerned with recent proposed cuts to international development programs in the President’s budget blueprint, we maintain the need to invest in global agricultural development and food security programming to reduce food insecurity and political instability abroad and are willing to lend AGree’s voice to this important issue. We are pleased to see leadership from our partners the Lugar Center, the Farm Journal Foundation, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs who will work to ensure that issues related to agricultural research, human capacity building, extension services, and trade in support of developing country food security and poverty alleviation are duly considered within the farm bill debate, given the high return on investment they provide to the American taxpayer in the form of domestically-relevant research, national security, and market development, among other benefits.

To learn more about AGree’s International Development Initiative, please contact Heather Lair (HLair@merid.org).

April 2016

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252) by voice vote on March 10. On March 9, AGree’s Co-Chairs sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Cardin encouraging passage of the bill out of committee.Copies of the letter were also sent to Senator Isakson, the bill’s Co-Sponsor, and Chairman Pat Roberts and Senator Debbie Stabenow of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. AGree was part of the drumbeat of dozens of organizations on social media supporting passage. The amended bill is available here.

To learn more about AGree’s International Development Initiative, please contact Heather Lair (HLair@merid.org).

September 2015

AGree continues to actively participate in the Global Ag Development Working Group, which recently submitted a letter to the Congressional committees with jurisdiction over food, agriculture, and foreign policy.

AGree participates in the Global Ag Development Working Group alongside producer groups, global ag development NGOs, and food and ag-focused foundations. The participating organizations have sent a second letter (as requested by Chairman Conaway) to members of the respective committees of Congress with jurisdiction over food, agriculture, and foreign policy. The letter calls for USDA and the food and ag industry’s role to be recognized in pending legislation related to global food security. For more information, please contact Heather Lair (HLair@merid.org)

July 2015

The International Development Initiative has been working with producer groups and global agricultural development NGOs to explore how U.S. support for international agricultural development supports our own national interests and economic growth and well-being in developing countries. Our focus has been on education and congressional outreach, including participation in a Learning Journey to southern Africa to learn about maize value chains and the needs of smallholder farmers.

Pam Johnson, former President of the National Corn Growers Association, with a leader from a women’s maize growing club.

 

AGree has been active in a Global Food Security Working Group comprised of producer groups and NGOs focused on global agricultural development. This group has been working to educate itself about global agricultural development and how U.S. investments might fully leverage the significant capabilities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, our land grant system, and the U.S. private sector. The group has met with congressional staff in both the House and Senate. In late June, we submitted a letter to Congress in favor of global food security legislation, emphasizing the urgent need to feed a growing population. A press release from the American Soybean Association is available online here, and our letter to Congress is available here.

In late June, AGree participated in Cargill’s “Learning Journey” to South Africa and Zambia to learn about food systems through hands-on visits, workshops, and conversations about food security issues with 25 leaders from influential organizations - producers, manufacturers, retailers, academia, non-governmental organizations, government agencies and the media. AGree was accompanied by Pam Johnson, past president National Corn Growers Association and 6th generation Iowa farmer who traveled with us to better understand African agricultural development and how U.S. producers can support agricultural development overseas and the long-term growth of U.S. agriculture which is tied to the success of these emerging markets. To learn more about the learning journey through photos, video, and travelogues, click here.


May 2015

AGree is working to support its recommendation that:

“Congress should enact authorizing legislation that recognizes the importance of agriculture and food systems development to economic self-reliance, social and environmental sustainability and the achievement of a hunger free world. The legislation should institutionalize the whole of government approach to food security.”

The introduction of legislation in both the House and Senate this spring is very encouraging, and AGree is working with a number of agriculturally-focused groups, including NGOs and production agriculture associations to explore alignments between U.S. agricultural development assistance and the U.S. agricultural sector.

Below are a few highlights from the past month:

  • AGree is part of a working group of agricultural development-focused NGOs and commodity groups that is discussing how to involve U.S. producers in discussions about global food security, including legislative efforts underway on the Hill. Educational efforts have included briefings about how USDA supports agricultural development overseas and discussions about AGree’s “Learning Journeys” concept that would take U.S. producer leaders to Africa to learn about African agriculture and the role of U.S. development assistance and investment.

  • In late April, AGree Co-Chair Emmy Simmons and AGree Advisor Connie Veillette (of The Lugar Center) spoke at a House Committee on Foreign Affairs staff briefing coordinated by the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution in partnership with the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa and the Chicago Council. The topic was “Supporting Greater Food Security in Africa: Priorities for the U.S. and Pathways for Effective Programs.”

  • AGree was among several partners supporting the Chicago Council’s Global Food Security Symposium where the Council released a new report – Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition. The report’s four recommendations are in strong alignment with AGree’s recommendations on International Development and the emerging consensus on Research & Innovation. AGree Advisors AG Kawamura, Shiriki Kumanyika, and Bob Thompson served as members of the Advisory Group who produced the report with leadership from Co-Chairs Dan Glickman (who is also a Co-Chair of AGree) and Douglas Bereuter.

For more information about partnering with AGree on its International Development Initiative, please contact Heather Lair (HLair@merid.org).

March 2015

To foster dialogue among U.S. producer leaders about the role U.S. agricultural development assistance plays in achieving food security and reducing hunger, AGree and its partners The Lugar Center and ACDI/VOCA are developing a “Learning Journey” program to East Africa as part of AGree’s International Development Initiative.

The proposed 2015 Learning Journeys are envisioned as the first of a series of broader engagements by a diverse group of U.S. food and agriculture stakeholders with African counterparts. The Learning Journeys include pre-travel briefings in Washington, DC, with policy leaders and international development experts; diverse agricultural experiences visiting farm operations of different sizes and types (including women smallholders); visits to supply chain enterprises (input suppliers, aggregators, processors, retailers, and finance); and meetings with ministry officials, farmers organizations, civil society, and U.S. government representatives. The Learning Journeys culminate with a day-long debrief in-country where participants share their experiences and reflect upon what they have learned about African agriculture and the role of U.S. development assistance and investment. AGree is leading this partnership in response to requests from producer leaders to see African agriculture first-hand, and to implement its recommendations that call for long-term country-led strategies that integrate agriculture, development, nutrition, and health and leverage investments across the U.S. government, the private sector, and civil society, including development assistance; research, education, and extension; and public-private partnerships.

For information on partnering with AGree on its International Development Initiative, please contact Heather Lair (HLair@merid.org).

January 2015

AGree’s International Development Initiative is coordinating efforts with organizations with aligned interests to make a compelling case for comprehensive food security authorizing legislation. Efforts in the 113th Congress were encouraging (see Dispatches from The Hill), and AGree and its partners are in communication with the international development community, the private sector, the Administration, and Congress to discuss opportunities for coordination and collaboration. AGree’s consensus recommendations to promote development through food and agriculture explicitly call for Congress to “enact authorizing legislation that recognizes the importance of agriculture and food systems development to economic self-reliance, social and environmental sustainability, and the achievement of a hunger-free world. This permanent law should institutionalize a whole of government approach and establish food security as an enduring goal of U.S. foreign development assistance programming.”

This will include leveraging the relationships developed through the AGree process and expanding the base of support to include additional agricultural producers and broader representatives of the food and agriculture supply chain and diverse members of the international development community. AGree and its partners will also be developing educational materials to make the case for Congressional support and mechanisms for building bridges between constituencies who have not traditionally worked together in support of agricultural development in developing countries.

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