Clinton unveils food security plan
From correspondents in New York | September 26, 2009
Article from: Agence France-Presse
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has unveiled a food security initiative launched by the Obama administration to combat hunger worldwide.
"Food security is not just about food. But it is all about security: economic security, environmental security, even national security," Mrs Clinton told a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative headed by her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
"Massive hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies and borders," she added, noting that there had been food riots in over 60 countries since 2007.
The new initiative, which Mrs Clinton said elevated development to a "key element of our foreign policy," seeks to help farmers improve output and make technology and infrastructure investments to make agriculture "more productive and profitable" in developing countries.
That would mark a shift from the current focus on emergency food assistance during humanitarian crises or natural disasters.
President Barack Obama's administration, Mrs Clinton said, was "addressing the underlying causes of hunger" through the plan by conducting research to develop better seeds, enacting insurance programs to protect farmers against the risk of agriculture and linking farmers and agribusiness to markets.
She said women, who form the majority of the world's farmers, would be placed at the heart of the efforts.
Mrs Clinton cited a World Bank effort in Mali that financed the modernisation of a canal system that improved irrigation and thus "dramatically" increased rice yields and farmers' incomes.
She urged Congress to fully fund the State Department's request for 2010, noting the agency would ask for additional agriculture funding the following years, and pledged "long-term commitment and accountability to our efforts."
Mr Clinton hailed the move, saying: "One of the mistakes that I and all my predecessors made when we stopped helping people feed themselves from 1981 forward is we forgot the dignity element of being able to feed yourself.
"(The new plan) "is a big deal. And it can change America's relations with people all over the world."