Food aid: a critical program, ripe for reform
Support common-sense food aid reform to help feed millions more people without spending an extra penny.
UPDATE—May 5, 2014: Right now, the progress we've made to reform food aid is at risk. An obscure provision hidden in a routine bill that has nothing to do with food aid will require an increase in the amount of US food aid that must be shipped on US-flagged vessels, from 50 to 75 percent. If it passes into law, this increase will mean up to two million fewer people will get life-saving food aid.
US food aid has saved hundreds of millions of people from malnutrition and starvation, and it costs less than .05 percent of the federal budget each year. As more frequent natural disasters and humanitarian crises leave millions of families struggling to survive, our nearly 60-year-old food aid program is more critical than ever.
Our current food aid program, which requires the purchase and shipment of US-sourced food to locations around the world, is both outdated and inefficient. Food aid shipped from the United States takes four to six months to reach its final destination. What’s worse, oftentimes, food aid is monetized—it’s purchased from American farmers—and then sold abroad in places where food could be purchased locally, damaging local economies.
Right now, 53 cents out of every dollar we spend on basic grains for food aid ends up in the pockets of middlemen as a result of red tape and regulations. These regulations protect special interests, at the expense of hungry people, and waste up to $471 million in US tax dollars each year.
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Think the cost of your groceries is on the rise? Now think about the tax money you spend on food aid to developing countries. If we reform food aid, we can get more food to the people who need it, more quickly, and at the same cost.