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American Farmers Contribute More to Feeding the Hungry Than They Realize

American farmers contribute more to fighting world hunger than they might realize. Chase Sova is the senior director of public policy and research with the World Food Program, which gets food to those going hungry around the world.

“We are a nonprofit organization that works out of Washington, D.C., to raise support for the mission of the United Nations World Food Program, which is a big U.N. entity that delivers humanitarian food assistance and aid to people in need all around the world. It’s a massive operation. We’ve got some 26,000 employees around the world, 5,000 trucks, and 150 aircraft, and we’re moving food from where it is to where it needs to be in people suffering from conflict events, events of climate change, and economic shocks. So, the World Food Program is the world’s safety net when it comes to food aid and food assistance. When folks have nowhere else to turn, they turn to the World Food Program.”

There are a lot of hunger hotspots around the world.

“We are experiencing a global hunger crisis of the likes we haven’t seen since the second world war right now. We’ve got about 350 million people across 79 different countries who are facing crisis levels of hunger. And these are people who just start skipping the occasional meal. These are people who don’t know where the next meal is going to come from. We’ve got a million people who are facing famine right now in about five or six different countries around the world, so the hotspots are many. If you’re reading about them in the news, chances are there’s a hunger hotspot associated with them. So, the Syria’s around the world, Yemen, northeast Nigeria, and the Horn of Africa right now is in a five-year drought.”

America’s farmers and their commodities play a big role in helping the battle against hunger.

“In just over the past ten years through the food aid programs in the United States, we’ve purchased about 10 million metric tons of grains and other commodities that are used in food aid programs, and it’s reached over 300 million people around the world, and that’s just in the last ten years. All of this comes from the American heartland. It comes from farms. Frankly, it’s something that the American farmer, I think, should be proud of. You’re serving an important role. It’s a win-win for American farmers who are finding markets for their products but also helping to alleviate some of the worst hunger emergencies on the planet. So, these commodities are still a big part of the U.S. Food Aid portfolio and a very important one.”

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