Shah’s speech made clear that the work of the work of WFP is critical to the Obama administration’s new Feed the Future (FTF) initiative to fight global hunger. Shah emphasized how WFP’s role in both humanitarian relief and development could provide long-term solutions to global hunger. Feed the Future builds the foundation for a new partnership between USAID and WFP.
“I believe right now is a unique opportunity for us to partner in a different and more efficient way,” said Shah about WFP. “The goal of this partnership would be to improve the ruthless efficiency and focus with which we collectively solve the challenge of global hunger.”
Shah pointed to WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) program as an example of how the organization uses use its innovative development initiatives and purchasing power to transform the lives of the world’s hungriest people.
Through the P4P program WFP utilizes its purchasing power to buy food from small-scale, local farmers to strengthen local markets and encourage agricultural development. When these farmers can count on WFP as their buyer they are more willing to diversify their crops and increase investments. A more stable market is developed, leading to improved accessibility and availability of food and previously unseen economic opportunities for communities.
“[WFP is] often the largest buyer of food in the countries that we collectively call priority Feed the Future countries,” Shah said. “[WFP] interfaces directly with food producers, with producer organizations and with food companies. The power of [WFP’s] purchasing is tremendous and I’m glad to hear of the great progress in the P4P initiative.”
A cooperative effort between USAID and WFP as part of the FTF effort would provide remarkable opportunities for combating global hunger with both agencies focused on providing sustainable solutions to hunger.
As President Obama said in announcing the new United States commitment to hunger, “Aid is not an end itself. The purpose of foreign assistance must be creating the conditions where foreign assistance is no longer needed.”
If WFP and FTF are truly successful then one day there will no longer be a need for them. That is a future to which we can all look forward.
Public Policy Intern
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