Posted by: APO | 21 July 2010

Lutheran World Relief Uganda Country Director Testifies at Congressional Hearing on Food Security


Lutheran World Relief Uganda Country Director Testifies at Congressional Hearing on Food Security


KAMPALA, Uganda, July 21, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Uganda Country Director Evelyn Nassuna testified before Congress at a hearing held jointly by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight. The hearing, entitled “Oversight of the Feed the Future Initiative,” highlighted opportunities for effective implementation of President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, which is aimed at increasing global food security and bolstering agriculture production in developing nations. Nassuna explained LWR’s approach to working with small-scale farmers in Uganda and the importance of involving these farmers in the design and implementation of the national agricultural projects.



Representatives Russ Carnahan (D – MO) and Donald Payne (D – NJ) opened the hearing by underscoring the severity of hunger world-wide and the need to increase food security. Representative Carnahan explained that “[h]unger and under-nutrition kill more people each year than AIDS, Malaria and T.B. combined.” Congressman Payne commended President Obama’s “bold initiative” and noted that “food security is a key component of development.”


In her testimony Nassuna, who has served as LWR’s Uganda Country Director since 2004, explained that investing in small-scale farmers is one of the most effective ways to promote food security in Africa. She pointed out that LWR’s approach to rural development is successful because it “is guided by a philosophy and framework of accompaniment which seeks to empower local communities by emphasizing jointly-developed projects.” Nassuna also stressed the importance of engaging female farmers in development projects and strengthening local organizations, such as farming cooperatives. She gave examples of LWR’s work with coffee and maize farmers in Uganda to illustrate these points. Nassuna suggested that a critical part of Feed the Future — the design of Country Investment Plans — should be based on meaningful consultation with small-scale farmer organizations and civil society organizations. She further testified that “[a]t the end of the day, Feed the Future must ensure that national governments fulfill their consultation requirements.”


Krista Zimmerman, LWR’s International Policy Analyst notes, “One of the reasons that investments in farming are so successful is that 3 billion people — nearly half of humanity — live in rural areas where livelihoods are connected to agriculture. When small-scale farmers succeed, entire rural economies prosper. This is why Feed the Future has such tremendous potential.” Zimmerman also explains that LWR is bringing the message to Capitol Hill that U.S. development efforts should try harder to reach remote, rural communities and small-producer farmers.


LWR Acting-Director for Public Policy and Advocacy Annalise Romoser explains that “LWR applauds President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative because it is refocusing attention on those farmers most capable of helping the world achieve food security and greater economic growth.” Romoser adds that “these initiatives will only succeed if small-scale farmers are consistently consulted with and involved in program implementation.”


Other speakers at the hearing included the Honorable William Garvelink, Deputy Coordinator for Development at the Office of the Coordinator for the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development, The Honorable Patricia Haslach, Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy of the same office and agency, William H. Danforth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and Executive Vice-President of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at the Monsanto Corporation Mr. Gerald A. Steiner.


Representatives Watson (D – CA), Woolsey (D – CA), Rohrabacher (R – CA) and Smith (D – N.J.) also attended the hearing and engaged witnesses in questions regarding the role of female farmers in food security, the importance of applied technology in agriculture, and approaches to effective consultations in-country.


Lutheran World Relief Vice President for External Relations Lisa Bonds extends gratitude to Congressmen Payne and Carnahan for hosting this important hearing and “for demonstrating critical interest in the experience and expertise of non-governmental organizations such as Lutheran World Relief.”





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