Food Assistance

In the midst of the Ebola crisis, another less visible crisis arose-- a food crisis. Why did this happen? With borders closed, movement restricted, and markets drying up due to lack of goods, food security deteriorated and families were going hungry. See how we helped address hunger during the worst of the crisis and are helping communities recover well into the future.

Approximately 795 million people worldwide suffer from chronic hunger, which kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined. Food assistance is one method to mitigate this crisis.

USAID’s food assistance efforts are an expression of the compassion and goodwill of the people of the United States. The lifesaving assistance we provide can also help to stabilize fragile situations. 

Our emergency food assistance and multi-year development programs:

  • Monitor food insecurity throughout the world;
  • Save lives in times of crisis;
  • Tackle chronic undernutrition; and
  • Help the most vulnerable break the cycle of poverty and hunger through agriculture and livelihoods support.

Many development food aid programs target disaster-prone areas and are designed to help reduce the need for emergency assistance over time.

Food Assistance in Action:

We are providing more effective food assistance:

  • Building on the latest in nutrition science, our in-kind food products are being reformulated and new products are being added to better meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations around the world.
  • USAID has adopted a state-of-the-art supply-chain management system that allows us to preposition food strategically, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to reach people in need. 
  • Since 2010, in-kind foods are now complemented by a cash-based emergency food security program that allows USAID to buy some food locally and regionally. The cash program also allows USAID to support interventions that enable hungry people to access local markets.
  • These tools are directed with the help of a state-of-the-art early-warning system that applies remote monitoring techniques with in-country data gathering and analysis in key food insecure locations. Today the USAID funded Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) is one of the most highly regarded early-warning systems in the world.

Food Aid Reform Proposal:

See the latest FY 2016 food aid reform proposal by clicking here.

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: November 03, 2015

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