03.29.17

Senator Roberts to Chicago Council: Utilize all Tools to Support Global Food Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today told the Chicago Council on Government Affairs that emergency food assistance, agriculture development, and trade are among many critical tools to improve global food security. 

“Ensuring that those in need have something to eat is among our most powerful tools of diplomacy,” Roberts said. “It is not a coincidence that the countries who need the most food assistance are also the most unstable.”

“Emergency assistance, agriculture development programs, and strong trade relationships often work hand in hand to help ensure a safer and more stable world for everyone.” 

In 2004, Chairman Roberts received the “Leadership in the Fight Against Hunger Award” from the Friends of the World Food Program for his lifetime of work in the global battle against hunger. The Senator has also built bipartisan support for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program that has made a difference in the lives of millions of children around the world. Senator Roberts is a member of the Senate Hunger Caucus. 

Below are Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

I appreciate the work done by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, especially the focus on how to feed the world’s growing population. Your research on global food security provides the expertise needed to help target our efforts and make the best use of U.S. resources abroad. 

Lately, the Senate Agriculture Committee has been hard at work considering Governor Perdue’s nomination for Agriculture Secretary and beginning the upcoming Farm Bill process. But, the Committee has long been dedicated to efforts to help alleviate hunger, both in the U.S. and around the world. And, we have a busy Congress ahead working toward that goal. 

Around the world, we are seeing an increase of famine and instability at alarming rates. Ongoing conflict, weather related crisis, and economic instability are driving food insecurity threats in many regions. It is estimated that around 70 million people will need emergency food assistance during 2017. 

Ensuring that those in need have something to eat is among our most powerful tools of diplomacy. It is not a coincidence that the countries who need the most food assistance are also the most unstable. 

Our national security is safeguarded through efforts to alleviate global hunger with Food for Peace and other food assistance programs. These programs promote stability and good nutrition around the world. 

Beyond emergency food assistance, U.S. agriculture development programs help farmers in other countries improve their crops, and build the storage and infrastructure to move those products to market. 

These roads to the market are a two-way street. Providing countries with the tools they need to improve their productivity, expand their markets, and grow their economies, will result in new market oppoitunities not just for the farmers in those countries, but eventually for those here at home as well. 

With our continued investments in research, technical assistance, and capacity building, developing countries can grow into emerging markets. This makes their economies stronger, and can lead to new customers for our producers. 

Across the United States, we are facing immediate supply and demand challenges for a number of crops. 

One of the best ways to support and increase opportunities for all agriculture is through trade. 

There has been a great deal of discussion lately about trade. Trade agreements are critically important, and play a significant role in the success of American farmers. 

But, the potential for trade goes beyond big free trade agreements. We must continue to look for opportunities to facilitate trade, like improving supply chains, or improving border efficiencies. 

All of these tools are critical in supporting global food security efforts. Emergency assistance, agriculture development programs, and strong trade relationships, under many circumstances work hand in hand to help ensure a safer and more stable world for everyone. 

I look forward to continuing our partnership and I am grateful for your commitment to helping feed a troubled and hungry world. 

-30-

Press Contact

Meghan Cline
meghan_cline@ag.senate.gov
202-224-2035