World Vision hosts congressional seminar on tackling world’s hunger through farmers

8-year-old Mary shows off her garden in Zimbabwe. PHOTO:World Vision/Leonard Makombe

8-year-old Mary shows off her garden in Zimbabwe. PHOTO:World Vision/Leonard Makombe

Bringing together congressional staffers, USAID, and development experts from as far away as ZimbabweWorld Vision hosted a special event explaining how U.S. funding translates into long-term change for some of the world’s most vulnerable.

Hunger remains a huge problem – 1 in 8 people do not have enough to eat. In part due to the U.S. Government’s leadership in food security, the state of hunger in developing countries has improved since 1990, falling by 39 percent. This despite increasing populations around the world.

The biggest challenge remains for fragile states – countries seeing conflict and upheaval. Of the Global Hunger Index’s “extremely alarming” and “alarming” countries, 11 of 14 are fragile.  Fragile states are projected to house the majority of the world’s extreme poor by 2018 and two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor by 2030.

The event — titled “Improving Global Food Security of Extremely Poor Farmers by Linking Them to the Private Sector Globally” — explained how legislation provides funding for food security programs. These programs link extremely poor farmers together and connect them with outside markets. This allows them to sell their crops for better prices – providing the first steps out of poverty for them and their families.

“The global landscape on food security issues is changing rapidly with ongoing food aid reform efforts and bipartisan Congressional efforts to codify President’s Obama’s Feed the Future initiative. We wanted to highlight how both the 60 year program of Food for Peace and Feed the Future initiative in agriculture development is helping us move from food aid to the ultimate goal of sustainability,” said Bob Zachritz, World Vision’s Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations.

It is just one example of how World Vision is working with USAID Food for Peace to build food security and greater resilience around the world.

The event also launched the 3rd edition of the “Integrating Extremely Poor Producers into Markets Field Guide.” World Vision and other development organizations use the Field Guide to link extremely poor farmers with private sector suppliers and buyers. The guide also explains how to better link dealers to farmers and provides technical advice on the use of seeds and other tips.

World Vision has also launched a new program in Zimbabwe that works with mobile phone networks to share farming techniques. Richard Ndou the World Vision Zimbabwe ENSURE Deputy Chief of Party, also known as Deputy Project Manager shared success stories from the World Vision/USAID Food for Peace program in Zimbabwe. He has seen the impact of this type of aid firsthand.

“We want to make sure that all farmers have the knowledge and connections they need to participate in markets. I have seen firsthand how access to improved farming techniques and the larger markets can be life-changing – with farmers going from barely being able to feed their families to having surplus money that can go toward improving their overall quality of life,” Ndou said. “Linking farmers with the private sector this way is the key to sustainability.”

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