Agricultural aid a smart way to fight global poverty and hunger
President Obama is proposing $408 million as part of a multilateral fund to aid in agricultural development. The fund would be an important way to reduce global poverty and hunger.
WEALTHY nations should continue offering aid in times of economic crisis. More of that aid needs to be invested in agriculture to better reduce global poverty and hunger.
President Obama is proposing $408 million for the fiscal 2011 budget as part of a multilateral fund to stimulate agricultural progress in developing countries.
The United States has already contributed $67 million along with others who have made significant donations: Canada, Spain, South Korea and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The fund was created at last year's G-8 meeting from $22 billion in pledges from world leaders. Currently, less than $1 billion of the money has been paid in.
It is important to support aid in agricultural development, which would be used for projects such as improving irrigation or building roads that link farmers with markets. While 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas, only 4 percent of development aid is spent on agriculture.
It's even more imperative to support agricultural development during an economic recession.
The World Bank estimates that because of the recession, by 2015 there will be 53 million more people living in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.25 a day.
Improving agriculture will not only help spur overall growth, but also contribute to reducing poverty and increasing food security.
In Africa, Malawi recently doubled its food production by funding agricultural development projects.
It is likely President Obama will meet opposition to this proposal over the amount of national spending, but in a world with 1 billion suffering from hunger and extreme poverty, America must do its part.
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