USAID Response to Global Food Security Crisis: Fact Sheet

Speeches Shim

The world is facing a food security crisis of historic proportions. Countries already reeling from increased poverty, hunger, and malnutrition as a result of COVID-19, climate shocks, and protracted conflict now face further suffering from Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. The United States is urgently responding to this global crisis to meet growing needs to avert a catastrophe right now and build stronger, more resilient food systems to prevent the next crisis.


  • Experts estimate that the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by as many as 75 to 95 million people in 2022.
  • As many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night, the number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared from 135 million to 345 million since 2019. A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. (World Food Programme). Women and girls are disproportionately impacted, particularly in low-and middle-income countries. (CARE).
  • The Horn of Africa is facing the most severe food security crisis in the world right now; the region has experienced a record-setting drought with four consecutive poor rainy seasons. The UN reports that approximately 21 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya required emergency food assistance as of September 2022 and that number will increase if the region experiences an unprecedented fifth failed rainy season as projected in the coming months (Food Security and Nutrition Working Group).
  • The UN Secretary General has said multiple famines may be declared this year and projects 2023 may be even worse. Famine is declared when catastrophic hunger becomes widespread. Up to 50 million people in 45 countries are right on the edge of famine including in the Buur Hakaba and Baidoa districts of southern Somalia where famine is likely to occur from October-December 2022 in the absence of significant humanitarian assistance reaching people most in need.
  • The historic drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, persistent ongoing humanitarian crises, and the added impacts of global food insecurity created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are rapidly increasing the number of children suffering from wasting. In 2020, 45.4 million young children were affected by wasting, of whom 13.6 million were severely wasted. UNICEF estimates that the global food crisis will push an additional 260,000 children into severe wasting in the 15 most affected countries. Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, the USAID has committed $10.65 billion to respond to the global food security crisis, including nearly $8.4 billion in immediate humanitarian assistance to address food insecurity, including through direct food assistance and vital complementary assistance like safe drinking water, health care, and protection for the most vulnerable.
  • USAID and its partners continue to scale up humanitarian assistance for drought response in the Horn of Africa by more than doubling funding commitments from nearly $806 million in FY 2021 to more than $1.8 billion in FY 2022.
  • USAID has supported the procurement and transport of more than 60,000 metric tons of Ukrainian grain for use in emergency food assistance programming in Ethiopia and Yemen. USAID’s continued partnership with the UN World Food Programme is supporting the additional procurement, movement, and storage of up to 150,000 metric tons of Ukrainian grain to address acute food insecurity around the globe.
  • In response to the rising global food insecurity, USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) took the extraordinary step in April to draw down the full balance of $282 million from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT). With these funds, USAID procured U.S. food commodities to bolster existing emergency food operations in six countries already facing severe food insecurity: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen.
  • Through Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s initiative to combat global hunger, addresses the root causes of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in more than 35 countries, the United States will invest $5 billion over five years for global food security and nutrition. This will include $1 billion in private sector-led projects that strengthen local and regional food systems. President Biden recently announced that the United States is expanding Feed the Future to eight new countries, including those vulnerable to the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • In addition to providing increased support for wasting treatment at the individual country level, USAID is also providing an unprecedented $200 million to UNICEF to procure and deliver lifesaving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food to children facing severe malnutrition in the most impacted countries. USAID’s significant support has mobilized other philanthropic donors to match our commitments, crowding in an additional $280 million in funding to mitigate severe child malnutrition.
  • USAID is working with partners, such as multilateral banks and the private sector, to improve farmers’ ability to obtain and afford agricultural inputs to help farmers use fertilizer more efficiently and small and medium businesses to develop local sources of fertilizer.
  • USAID launched the Agriculture Resilience Initiative (AGRI) -Ukraine to bolster Ukrainian agricultural production and exports in order to alleviate local and global food insecurity. Funding for the AGRI-Ukraine initiative supports: Purchase and delivery of critical inputs for farmers; improvements in export logistics and infrastructure; increases in farmers’ access to financing to enable a full crop harvest; and drying, storage, and processing support for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture sector.

Last updated: October 18, 2022

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