U.S. Spells Out How It Will Combat World Hunger

Ranbir, twenty-six-months, who weighs 5 kg and suffers from severe malnutrition, waits for food at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre of Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh April 7, 2010. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause/Files.

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. global anti-hungerstrategy will focus on a small number of countries where collaborative projects can expand local food production and reduce chronic hunger, the Obama administration said on Thursday.

Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, outlined the administration's strategy, called Feed the Future Guide, at a daylong conference. It described how to match international donations and expertise with local efforts.

At the G8 summit last year, nations pledged $20 billion to combat chronic hunger around the world. One billion people suffer from food shortages. The figure climbed when food prices soared in 2008.

Key to success, said Shah, was for national leaders to develop hunger-fighting initiatives, based on proven techniques, that have local support. A month ago, the United States said it would focus on hunger in 20 nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"We are supporting this country-led approach because we know it can unlock the potential of all our development partners to make sustainable, systemic advances towards a food-secure future," said Shah.

Investments in agricultural productivity, along with local market development and new research will result in more food and lower prices, said the administration.

The 20 focus countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Tajikistan in Asia; and Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and, Nicaragua in Latin America.

Oxfam America, an international development group, said Congress should approve a White House request for $1.6 billion to support the initiative and pass legislation to double U.S. spending for agricultural development in food-short regions.

© REUTERS 2010

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