MCC’s partner countries recognize that global food security can be among the most pressing challenges to economic development and poverty reduction. With its partner countries in the lead, the MCC portfolio of investments has been on the forefront of addressing food security priorities since MCC’s first compact in 2005. MCC’s food security investments highlight the importance of strengthening agricultural and rural economies in poor countries and to promote reliable access to sufficient, safe and affordable food.
MCC places high emphasis on country ownership in its development model. MCC’s partner countries, informed by economic analysis and in consultation with civil society and the private sector, develop compact programs to address countries’ most significant barriers to economic growth and poverty reduction. When given the opportunity to set the priorities, almost all of the MCC countries prioritized food security related investments during a time when Global Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Agriculture was at a historic low. 1 To date, MCC has obligated more than $4.4 billion to strengthen agricultural and rural economies in poor countries and to address the many sources of food insecurity. 2
Building on MCC’s Experience
Responding to spikes in food prices and increasing concern about levels of food insecurity around the world the 2009 L’Aquila Summit marked a turning point for international efforts to achieve food security worldwide with the G8 committing to mobilize $22 billion for agriculture and food security.
As part of the U.S. Government contribution to this global effort President Obama launched the Feed the Future (FTF) Initiative in 2010, declaring the commitment of the United States to sustainably reduce hunger and poverty through increased agricultural development and nutrition programs. MCC has and will continue to actively support the development and implementation of FTF at various stages in the process, leveraging nearly seven years of implementation of agriculture and food-security related investments and sharing experiences and lessons learned on measuring results and accountability.
It is anticipated that MCC’s food security investments will result in:
- 250,000 hectares under new or improved irrigation,
- 227,000 farmers trained,
- $71 million of agricultural or rural loans disbursed,
- 3,200 enterprises assisted,
- Nearly 6 million hectares of formalized land rights, and
- 3,500 kilometers of rural roads completed.
As these results come in, MCC is committed to learning and being held accountable for how well these program outputs translate into increased incomes and wellbeing for program beneficiaries.
MCC has independent impact evaluations underway for almost 20 agriculture investments to address such questions as impact of our programs on increased productivity and investment in high-value agriculture, and ultimately, on rural household incomes. In addition, MCC is managing many other impact evaluations related to food security investments in land and roads. The results of these evaluations will inform MCC (and hopefully Feed the Future) program planning in future food security and agriculture investments. It is anticipated that MCC’s first Impact Evaluation results will be from agriculture projects in Honduras, Nicaragua, Armenia and Ghana and should be public in Fall 2012.