Oxfam reaction to Draft Senate Farm Bill

By Ben Grossman-Cohen

In response to the bipartisan draft of the 2012 Farm Bill offered by Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Roberts (R-KS) which includes several reforms to international food aid programs Eric Munoz, Policy Advisor for Oxfam America said:

“This proposal takes important steps to cut waste and modernize America’s international food aid programs.  US food aid programs are absolutely critical to our foreign policy and our moral values.  Regulations imposed on the food aid program to protect special interests cost taxpayers up to $500 million per year.

“Advocates for effective aid have pushed for nearly a decade to see common sense steps taken to bring our aid programs up to date.  Everyone should support the reforms to food aid programs offered in this bill to ensure that our tax dollars are spent as efficiently and effectively as possible to save millions of lives.  The Farm Bill leaves a lot to be desired, but there is no doubt that these reforms will strengthen America’s humanitarian relief and development efforts around the globe.  We urge the Congress to include the long overdue fixes to food aid in the Farm Bill and reject the special interests who seek to undermine life-saving reforms.”

Food Aid reforms proposed in the draft bill include:

1. The pilot program created in the 2008 Farm Bill to study the effectiveness of purchasing food aid locally and regionally will be continued as a full program with modestly increased funding to $40 million per year.

2. Efforts are made to reduce the “monetization” of food aid whereby food aid is dumped on developing country markets, a wasteful way to raise funds for long term development projects.  The bill cuts the level of funding for “monetization” which will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and make aid programs more effective.

Notes to editors:

For more on Oxfam’s position on food aid reform go to: www.oxfamamerica.org/foodaid

To read the 2012 Farm Bill Committee Print see: http://www.ag.senate.gov/download/?id=8cc7b60d-3758-41b6-be4c-1703321d2b39

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