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 promoting 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 and Cooperation to Improve Food Security
The 35th G8 summit, held in L’Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy, in 2009, marked a turning point for international efforts to achieve food security worldwide. Responding to spikes in food prices and increasing concern about levels of food insecurity, G8 countries committed to mobilizing $22 billion for agriculture and food security. The 38th G8 summit, held at Camp David in 2012, led to the establishment of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition with the private sector and African leaders setting a target to lift 50 million people from poverty by 2022.
Domestic Legislation and Initiatives
Global Food Security Act of 2016
MCC joined 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. This strategy and related plans were authorized by the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which passed Congress with broad bipartisan support and signed into law in July 2016. This legislation solidifies the U.S. Government’s commitment to improving agricultural and food systems to increase incomes, strengthen resilience and boost nutrition.
Feed the Future
The U.S. Government 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 supported the initiative though the development of rigorous analytical tools, including its monitoring and evaluation framework, and continues to share best practices in irrigation, farmer training, and land tenure. Among these tools are the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture index, an innovative way of measuring how women benefit from agricultural investments.
In August 2017, the U.S. Government announced the next phase of Feed the Future, selecting 12 target countries to focus on the promotion of long-term, sustainable development and to encourage economic growth through smart agriculture. MCC partner Niger, which suffers from water scarcity and food crises, is among the 12 target countries. MCC’s compact with the Government of Niger is working to improve access to water for agriculture and livestock and expand access to markets. It has the potential to benefit 3.9 million people.
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 accountable and transparent about 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. These evaluations address questions of the impact of our programs on increased productivity, investment in high-value agriculture, and rural household incomes. MCC is managing other impact evaluations related to food security investments in land and roads. The results of these evaluations will inform MCC and the government-wide initiatives in which it participates in program planning for future food security and agriculture investments.