Kudos to President Obama of the United States and President Dilma Vana Rousseff of Brazil for their discussion of jointly addressing global food security issues during President Obama’s recent visit to Brazil. As my readers know, I am a strong advocate of eradicating hunger in a world where abundance of food is a reality and the issues lay within the ability to distribute.
According to the White House briefing paper on the visit: “The United States and Brazil are cooperating on a number of projects ranging from technical assistance to other Latin American countries and Africa in areas such as food security, sustainable biofuels and clean energy development.”
President Rousseff was quoted in the press, “I believe that Obama’s visit to Brazil shines a conscious light on the relationship between the countries, showing that Brazil has stepped up to it’s international role,”
While lacking visibility into the discussions in Brazil which occurred, I am hopeful that President Rousseff highlighted the initiative of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, (her hometown) where the municipality has outlawed hunger, rendering it illegal – successfully (see my piece, Hunger Should be Illegal). This model needs to be replicated and replicated widely.
For a well thought out perspective, Jake Caldwell the Director of Policy for Agriculture, Trade & Energy at American Progress has written an excellent piece, A US-Brazil Alliance to Strengthen Global Food Security which calls out the opportunity available to Brazil and the United States and is a worthy read. Especially worthy of approbation are these two paragraphs:
For starters, they will need to rethink the sustainability of exporting industrial-level, energy-intensive agriculture productivity to developing countries. This approach is unlikely to meet global food security needs over the long-term in a resource-constrained world.
A more diverse strategy is needed.Instead, the United States and Brazil should provide technical assistance, training, and financial incentives to developing countries to enhance food security and adapt to the destructive impacts of climate change. The two nations should focus on agricultural production that preserves the soil and water supply, promotes crop diversification, encourages local agricultural knowledge and the role of women farmers, and reduces dependence on fossil fuels and other high-cost inputs. It will be vital for the private and public sector in the United States and Brazil to fund agricultural research to increase food production yields, conserve biodiversity, and combat pests and disease in a safe and transparent manner.