The current food crisis has brought to the fore a widespread acknowledgement that the investments and policies in support of the development of agriculture during the last 30 years have been insufficient. The world’s wealthiest countries, for example, as a group, cut support for agriculture development roughly in half from 1980 to 2006, to $2.8 billion per year from $6 billion, representing a fall from 18% of all official development assistance to less than 3%. The World Bank cut its agricultural lending from $7.7 billion in 1980 to $2 billion in 2004. For our part, the U.S. once led the donor world on agriculture, but there has been a long slide over the last 20 years. In the 1990s, for example, USAID supported the training of 15,000 students who earned higher education degrees. Today, there are less than 1,000 such trainees.
Last updated: July 16, 2013