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 invested more than $5 billion to strengthen agricultural and rural economies in poor countries and to address the many sources of food insecurity.
Strategic Partnerships to Improve Food Security
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.
Feed the Future
As part of the U.S. Government contribution to this global effort President Obama launched the Feed the Future Initiative in 2010, declaring the commitment of the United States to sustainably reduce hunger and poverty through increased agricultural development and nutrition programs. MCC’s goals, mission and country-driven approach are consistent with Feed the Future and it is proud to be an implementing agency in the U.S. Government-wide initiative to help sustainably reduce hunger and poverty through increased agricultural development and nutrition programs. MCC supported Feed the Future’s development of rigorous analytical tools, including its monitoring and evaluation framework, and continues to share best practices in areas such as irrigation, farmer training and land tenure. MCC also uses tools developed by Feed the Future, including the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture index—an innovative way to measure how women benefit from agricultural investments.
U.S. Global Food Security Strategy
MCC worked with 10 other U.S. Government agencies and departments to develop the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy. The Strategy provides an integrated whole-of-government approach, along with agency-specific implementation plans, as required by the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which President Barack Obama signed into law in July 2016. This bipartisan legislation solidifies the U.S. Government’s commitment to improving agricultural and food systems to increase incomes, strengthen resilience and boost nutrition.
MCC has invested more than $5 billion in partner countries to address the many sources of food insecurity. It is anticipated that MCC’s food security investments will result in:
- 169,980 hectares under new or improved irrigation,
- 275,335 farmers trained,
- $87 million of agricultural or rural loans disbursed,
- 4,223 commercial and civic enterprises assisted,
- 311,785 households, commercial, and other legal entities with formalized land rights, and
- 2,876 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.