(StatePoint) After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger has reached an all-time high. Continued supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, …
(StatePoint) After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger has reached an all-time high. Continued supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, escalating inflation and a rapidly changing climate, have exacerbated challenges around the world, particularly in developing countries, and today, as many as 828 million people still go hungry.
Experts point out that hunger is not just a product of such crises, it can perpetuate more hunger and regional instability, especially in areas already experiencing violent conflict.
“Heightened levels of food insecurity make it much more difficult for communities to build lasting peace, which in turn, leads to greater food insecurity,” says Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “By working with our partners around the world, America and American farmers can help save lives at this critical moment.”
These issues were front-and-center at the recent U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s (USGLC) 2023 Heartland Summit, which took place in two Heartland cities: Detroit, Michigan and Sioux City, Iowa. The annual summit brings together leaders from across the Heartland for critical conversations on how global investments in agriculture and U.S. international affairs programs help to create jobs, feed the hungry and reduce poverty around the world. According to event leaders, these are this year’s biggest lessons and takeaways:
• What happens around the world directly impacts local Heartland communities’ success and prosperity. It’s why hundreds of farmers are speaking out on why investments in diplomacy, development and global food security help keep America safe, strengthen the U.S. economy and strengthen families and communities across the Heartland.
• American agricultural exports of U.S. farm and food products to the world posted its best export year ever in 2022, totaling $196 billion and topping the previous record set it 2021 by 11% — clearly demonstrating the indispensable nature of American farmers to America’s economy.
• With food insecurity severely impacted by global crises, the work of farmers and the American agriculture community to help feed the world is essential. It’s why USGLC’s network — Farmers for Prosperity—aims to shine a spotlight on the crucial role farmers play in solving critical global issues and how U.S. global leadership is essential to protect the security, health and economic interests of American families.
• Farmers around the world grow the food that sustains families and creates stability in communities and countries. Amid growing threats on the global stage from wars, drought and climate change, farmers are part of the solution.
• American farmers have unique views on what it takes for the United States and world to prosper, making it important for them to raise their voices in an effort to help shape U.S. foreign policy.
• U.S. leadership in the world is vital in advancing national economic and security interests. When it comes to issues like trade, America can only stand up to countries like China and Russia when it’s on the global playing field.
• The State Department and USAID are vital links in helping open new markets for American agricultural products, which is not just good for American farmers, but promotes stability and security globally. At the same time, the long-term goal of empowering farmers and communities around the world to feed themselves builds a safer, more prosperous world.
To watch the 2023 Heartland Summit, visit heartland.usglc.org.
“Fighting global hunger by strengthening our nation’s leadership around the world, enabling our nation’s farmers to compete, and building new stable markets for our agricultural exports is a moral imperative and a matter of U.S. economic and national security,” says Glickman.