Liberia has been selected as one of the 20 countries that are expected to benefit from U.S. President Joe Biden's expansion of the U.S. government’s global food security initiative, ‘Feed the Future’, harnessing the power of agriculture to drive economic growth and transform food systems.
The Biden administration said in a release that the expansion of the program to eight new countries, led by USAID, includes those vulnerable to the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Liberia, a poor and least developed country, is of no exception. The expansion, according to the release posted on USAID’s website, brings the list of prioritized countries from 12 to 20 — with the new target countries being the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
“These countries will be our closest partners in harnessing the power of agriculture to drive economic growth and transform food systems, even as Feed the Future programming continues to improve people’s lives around the world,” the release said.
“President Biden also announced $760 million in additional funding to combat the effects of high food, fuel, and fertilizer prices — now being driven by Putin’s war — in those countries that need it most. USAID will use these resources to bolster Feed the Future and implement the U.S. government’s strategy to mitigate the crisis,” it added.
“Of these resources, US$640 million will support bilateral targeted agriculture and food security programs to strengthen agricultural capacity and resilience in more than 40 of the most vulnerable countries — Ukraine, as well as across 24 countries and regions in Africa, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries and regional presence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 6 countries in the Middle East.”
“These investments will tackle urgent global fertilizer shortages, purchase resilient seeds, mitigate price shortages for fertilizer, scale-up social safety nets for families suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and avert food and humanitarian crises in the most vulnerable countries. The balance — $120 million — will help finance multilateral efforts to leverage donor investments that help vulnerable countries build their resilience to shocks, and strengthen social safety nets, supply chain issues, and climate impacts for near medium food security.”
Currently, the US Feed the Future program has invested more than $1.9 billion per year through Feed the Future, which builds on existing technical expertise, programs, and partners in more than 35 countries.
US$2.76 billion pledged
The Biden administration's support to Liberia is part of a US$2.76 billion pledged by the US to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from the escalating global food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine” and the severe drought in the Horn of the Africa region.
This pledge, according to the US government, represents more than half of the over $4.5 billion in additional resources that G7 leaders committed to addressing global food security at a summit in Germany.
“This funding will support efforts in over 47 countries and regional organizations, saving lives through emergency interventions and mitigating further increases in poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in vulnerable countries affected by high prices of food, fertilizer, and fuel,” the release said. “Funds pledged today will bring the United States’ total investment in the global food security crisis to $5.56 billion since the start of Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.”
Global humanitarian assistance
With this funding, the release added that USAID will provide an additional $2 billion for direct food assistance, as well as related health, nutrition, protection, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services in countries with high levels of acute food insecurity, reliance on Russian and Ukrainian imports, and vulnerability to price shocks.
It said this funding includes support for countries hosting refugee populations and countries in the Horn of Africa facing a perfect storm of historic drought, COVID-19, and global shocks of food and fertilizer prices that threaten up to 20 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.