FAO in North America

Secretary Clinton on famine and feeding the future

Submitted by Rachel Friedman on August 12, 2011

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the International Food Policy Research Institute on the famine in the Horn of Africa, stressing the need for both urgent short-term emergency relief and long-term support to agricultural self-sufficiency and food security.

“While we hurry to deliver life-saving assistance, we must also maintain our focus on the future by continuing to invest in long-term food security in countries that are susceptible to drought and food shortages.”

Clinton announced an additional $17 million in U.S. emergency assistance, with $12 million earmarked for Somalia, bringing total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $580 million this year.

“Though food shortages may be triggered by drought, they are not caused by drought, but rather by weak or nonexistent agricultural systems that fail to produce enough food or market opportunities in good times and break down completely in the bad times.

“In other words, a hunger crisis is not solely an act of God. It is a complex problem of infrastructure, governance, markets, education. These are things we can shape and strengthen. So that means this is a problem that we can solve.”

Watch the video of the event here or read the complete transcript of Secretary Clinton’s remarks here.

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