AUGUST 05, 2013
A multi-billion-dollar Obama initiative to “reduce global poverty and undernutrition” just dropped $10 million on a special lab that will improve “climate resilience in some of Africa’s main cereal crops.”
It’s all part of the president’s “vision of a world where people no longer face extreme poverty, hunger and undernutrition.” Is that even a real word? The initiative is called Feed the Future and most Americans have probably never even heard of it, though it’s being funded with their tax money to the tune of nearly $4 billion.
The cash is being distributed through three government agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Treasury Department. USAID, which provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance worldwide, holds the biggest pot of money (north of $2.5 billion), according to the latest Feed the Future progress report. MCC, another U.S. government foreign aid agency that fights global poverty, has more than $981 million and the Treasury Department upwards of $326 million.
That’s a chunk of change but the mission is a big one, according to President Obama, who launched Feed the Future at the 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy. The goal is to support poor countries in developing their own agriculture sectors so they can generate opportunities for economic growth, which in turn will help reduce poverty and hunger. Indeed, a noble plan but the timing—the U.S. debt is nearly $17 trillion and the government has implemented mandatory cutbacks—couldn’t be worse.
Let’s take a look at an example of where our tax dollars are going. USAID recently announced a new partnership that will create “two new Feed the Future Innovation Labs.” The new labs will develop ways to increase cereal production in Africa “even as climate change alters conditions and reduces agricultural productivity,” says USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. Rocked by record-high unemployment and economic hardship, it’s safe to be that this is not a priority for most Americans.
The USAID announcement failed to mention how much Uncle Sam is dedicating to this particular venture, but the public university in Michigan that got the government cash reveals that it’s $10 million with more to come. “An additional $15 million of grant funding could be made available for more intensive country-level programs throughout the next five years,” the school reveals in a press release celebrating its recent $10 million grant.
President’ Obama’s objective abroad is a simple one that mirrors his domestic goal; to bring the world “food security.” In the U.S. he has worked to fulfill this mission by drastically expanding the government’s food stamp program to an astounding $80.4 billion in 2012. For those unfamiliar with the term food security, here is a brief definition as per Obama’s initiative. “A family is considered food-secure when its members do not live in hunger or fear of hunger…Families and individuals require a reliable and consistent source of quality food and sufficient resources to purchase it.” Our commander-in-chief won’t stop until this is accomplished globally.
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