Because he’s a decent human being and doesn’t want people to starve, former President Barack Obama started the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. One of his first initiatives, GAFSP helped fund improvements in agricultural productivity around the world. The U.S. provided one-third of the total expenditures to, again, help feed poor and starving people.
It’s these kinds of programs that make people like America around the world. So, of course, Donald Trump is gutting it.
“[The] U.S. is not expecting to make any future contributions,” Treasury undersecretary for international affairs David Malpass said in written testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on November 8. “[GAFSP] should be wound down, with donors exploring options to return future reflows to donors.”
But the danger of ending this program goes beyond an increase in starving children. According to experts, ending this funding will be a time bomb for famine, war, and instability.
“We already have four famines running concurrently,” Marie Clarke, a member of the GAFSP steering committee and executive director of ActionAid USA, told Foreign Policy, referring to food shortages in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. “This is a fund that gets to the poorest of the poor.”
Malpass claims that Trump wants to stop funding the program because the Treasury Department is just helping too many people.
“The [Treasury] is currently participating in nearly 100 international working groups and organizations. Each has the goal of benefiting the world, but each requires staff time, energy and often travel,” he wrote. “I will work to review these various processes to determine which of them can be wound down, scaled back, or converted to financial plans based on restraint rather than expansion.
But Clarke says that Malpass’s excuse has no validity. The program only spends 7% on overhead while the rest goes to farmers and their communities, making GAFSP “one of the most efficient funds out there.”
And the program has been very successful. For instance, in Rwanda, areas that received funding increased the maize, beans, and potato yields by approximately 220% in just two years.
Now, this crucial program that poor communities around the world depend on is going to be severely limited, all because President Trump wants to destroy the legacy of a black President.