The Power of Agriculture to Feed the Future

Both USAID and IFPRI know that unlocking the potential of agriculture is critical to breaking the vicious cycle of hunger,    malnutrition, and extreme poverty. In 2010, the US government launched Feed the Future—the country’s global hunger and food security initiative with a comprehensive approach that draws on partnerships across sectors, country leadership, and a focus on achieving results. IFPRI has been providing technical,  analytical,  monitoring  and  evaluation,  meeting,  and  communication support to the program, which has contributed to important successes for Feed the Future. In Bangladesh, the comprehensive, nationally representative survey IFPRI developed—the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey—which also measures women’s empowerment using the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), informed policy decisions, program improvements,    and investments that led to a 16 percent decline in national poverty according to USAID’s 2016 Feed the Future Progress Report. Because adoption of the WEAI  was an important  part  of monitoring and evaluation for the Feed the Future initiative  in Bangladesh, USAID decided to collect these data for an additional 18   Feed the Future country programs, enabling them to capture data and insights on gender dynamics in agriculture and rural communities, providing information that could help program designers address barriers to gender equality within their programs. Further, IFPRI’s research has been contributing to other Feed the Future projects that aim to increase agricultural productivity, strengthen resilience, and make rural livelihoods profitable. Under the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation, IFPRI is examining the potential for expanding irrigated agriculture in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania through improved and more effective use of scarce water supplies.