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Scaling Up to Increase Global Impact on Food Security

“Scaling up” sounds a lot like development jargon, but it actually applies to any big idea. You see examples of things that have been scaled up every day: if you’ve browsed the internet, used a mobile phone or even flipped a light switch today, then you’ve benefited from technologies that now belong to the masses where they once lived only in the heads of a few forward-thinking entrepreneurs.

The concept of scaling up also applies to agricultural development. We know that to end hunger, we need to start with agriculture, which employs the majority of the rural poor in developing countries. And while it’s important to tell the stories of the individual farmers and business owners who are benefiting from new seeds, modern equipment or nutritious foods as a result of global efforts to end hunger, we also want to be able to tell the story in a few decades of how we helped the more than 842 million hungry people around the world achieve food security in an environmentally sustainable way.

That’s why we need to make smart investments in long-term agricultural growth and scale up proven technologies that will increase production and incomes for smallholders while building resilience to threats like climate change. We don’t want our impact to stop at just one family, business or community; we want countries around the world to see real change at a large scale in their agriculture sectors, so that millions of farmers can earn more income and escape poverty, and millions of children can get the good nutrition they need to lead healthy, productive lives. We want our support to ultimately result in resilient communities that no longer need aid. 

Scaling up means finding what works and how to replicate it so that we can reach more people and achieve greater impact. It means building a path to long-term sustainability. 

Feed the Future was built around the vision of a world where people no longer face extreme poverty, undernutrition and hunger. And now, four years into the initiative, the U.S. Government and its partners have learned a lot about what works best to help us get there.

That’s why you’ll hear more about scaling up as we continue to work toward lasting food security and nutrition for increasing numbers of smallholder farmers and their families. As we’ve built the case for what works best in the fight against hunger, we’ve positioned ourselves to accelerate efforts to help farmers adopt the most effective technologies and practices at rates that are self-sustaining.

For more on this topic, check out our February newsletter. And share your scaling ideas with us on Twitter using the hashtag #scalingGLEE. 

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