This week USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg took a moment to speak with ONE about the upcoming G8 summit, hunger, and food security. Their conversation was just posted on the ONE Blog.
ONE: Hunger is a global issue — how is a focus on growth in the agricultural sector so central to poverty reduction, and why is an emphasis on Africa particularly important?
Ambassador Steinberg: Food security is vital to human security. On a national level, countries marked by hunger, volatile food prices, and poverty stemming from a lack of agricultural productivity face constant political and security crises that undercut stability and economic development.
At the personal level as well, hunger and malnutrition affects the entire life-cycle, causing stunting in infants and young children, poor concentration and inadequate learning in school-aged kids, low resistance to communicable and infectious diseases, and low productivity and high absenteeism in the work place.
Africa is particularly vulnerable to the effects of hunger and malnutrition, and is the only continent where agricultural productivity has remained stagnant for the past three decades. Given that growth in agriculture is, on average, at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors, investments in agriculture are fundamental to transforming Africa and the rest of the developing world and eradicating poverty and hunger.
Read the full Q & A on the ONE Blog.