Congressional Staffers Visit Mozambique with CARE to See How U.S. Investments Are Empowering Small-Scale Farmers and Tackling Chronic Hunger

Congressional Staffers Visit Mozambique with CARE to See How U.S. Investments Are Empowering Small-Scale Farmers and Tackling Chronic Hunger

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WASHINGTON (June 3, 2019) – A bipartisan group of Congressional staffers traveled to Mozambique with CARE to see how vital U.S investments in agricultural research and development (R&D) and food security help build the capacity and resilience of farmers – allowing them to withstand shocks, sustainably produce enough nutritious food to feed their families and lift their communities out of poverty. The delegation included staffers from Kansas, Maine, New York and Wisconsin, as well as a staffer from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This group was also joined by representatives from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Farm Journal Foundation, as well as a media representative from Devex.

Today, nearly 821 million people around the world are chronically hungry and over 149 million children under five are stunted. In Mozambique, 70 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day and 80 percent of the population cannot afford an adequate diet. The country also struggles with chronic food insecurity, and the life expectancy is alarmingly low at 58 years – one of the lowest in the world. Women and girls bear the strongest brunt of food insecurity and hunger.

Furthermore, the country is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate shocks and extreme weather events such as drought, floods and cyclones. In March and April 2019, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth both hit Mozambique less than six weeks apart. The cyclones were the equivalent of category 2 and 4 hurricanes, respectively, and devastated local and regional infrastructure and destroyed more than 1.1 million acres of crops and productive land in the region. Cyclone Idai resulted in three million people, including 1.6 million children, in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. 

On this five-day trip, the delegation witnessed how simple solutions – such as agricultural research and development, nutrition education and creating opportunities to connect small-scale farmers to markets – can empower communities to escape poverty and reach their full potential.  

During the trip, the delegation met with partner organizations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Potato Center, TechnoServe and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in addressing hunger and malnutrition in the region. They also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from USAID and the State Department. Lastly, the delegation sat down with communities to learn about the successes and obstacles they face when it comes to food security, nutrition, education and gender equality. 

Participants in CARE’s May 2019 Learning Tour to Mozambique included:

  • Helen Beaudreau – Legislative Director, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY-06) 
  • Kelliann Blazek – Counsel, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01)
  • Vitumbiko Chinoko – Advocacy & Partnerships Coordinator, CARE USA 
  • Judd Gardner – Legislative Assistant, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) 
  • David Hong – Director of Government Affairs, Farm Journal Foundation 
  • Sara Jerving – East Africa Correspondent, Devex 
  • Anne Knapke – Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • Anna Knight – Policy Analyst, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Chairman James Risch, R-ID) 
  • Marian Lawson – Specialist in Foreign Assistance and Feed the Future, Congressional Research Service 
  • Colleene Thomas – Senior Policy Adviser, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  • Ben Weingrod – Director of Government Relations, CARE USA 

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to confront hunger, ensure nutrition and food security for all, improve education and health, create economic opportunity and respond to emergencies. In 2018, CARE worked in 95 countries and reached more than 56 million people around the world. 

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Photo credit: Ilan Godfrey/CARE