Updated Jul 26, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on global food insecurity

On Wednesday, July 26, in Washington, D.C., Axios senior politics reporter Eugene Scott, politics reporter Sophia Cai and world editor Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath hosted conversations examining the impact of policy on global hunger and the top priorities for improving food security in the U.S. and around the world. Guests included Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mercy Corps CEO Tjada D’Oyen McKenna.

A View from the Top sponsored segment featured World Food Program USA president and CEO Barron Segar.

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna explained how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted global agricultural production and food supply chains around the world.

  • On how price issues surrounding food have turned into availability issues: “So immediately after the war started, we saw prices spike up almost immediately. I think there was just this huge fear in the market around, you know, things were already bad. This is a major supply chain that’s going to be cut off, fertilizers. So last year there was a price issue, and our fear always was that this year there would be a food availability issue because even now, since the war started, farming is hard work, and when your farms are being bombed, a lot of farmers have abandoned their farm lands.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow discussed how U.S. investment in addressing global humanitarian crises is not only a moral responsibility but is also in the interest of national security.

  • On how food security relates to stability: “So whether it is the despicable efforts of Putin, whether it is the climate crisis, whether it’s other things happening, unrest around the world, food becomes a major part of creating stability. So it’s not only emergency spending, it’s helping local economies.”

Sen. Jerry Moran highlighted how innovations in science and technology can help farmers adapt to the rise in extreme weather events that negatively impact farming conditions and patterns.

  • On how extreme weather is affecting farmers: “At a time in which the world needs more food, Kansas and much of the Midwest is struggling to produce even the amount of food that we traditionally, historically do. So it’s a recognition that science and technology can be of help to us in determining how to better rotate our crops, what crops we should grow and to use hybrids and research to make certain that we get it right.”

In the View from the Top segment, Barron Segar emphasized the role that federal funding plays in addressing the top drivers of hunger.

  • “We have to remember that until 2015, hunger was on the decline. And unfortunately, we have three things that are happening right now all together at the same time, and that’s cost going up, it’s conflict, and it’s climate, and all three of those are driving hunger. So the goal is that we’re all in this together, so from our policymakers…we have to make sure that our legislators make hunger the top priority, that they fund the World Food Program at the full extent.”

Thank you to World Food Program USA for sponsoring this event.

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