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Reduce the Waste of US Foreign Aid

This petition had 105 supporters


The US is the largest donor of international food aid.  We are also the only major donor country that “ties” the majority of its foreign aid by requiring that the food products must come from the US.   Tied aid is criticized by many government and non-government organizations (NGOs) for the following reasons:

·  Waste - Shipping and transportation costs to get the food from the US to the donor country can waste up to 50% of aid money1

·  Insecurity - Flooding the recipient countries with foreign food products undermines their local agricultural markets, which are usually a primary source of income and employment, and can lead to longer term food insecurity2

·  Delays – Shipping food from the US results in long wait times for food to be received, even in emergency situations food aid takes up to five months to be received3

Most other wealthy donor countries have untied their food aid and now provide direct cash payments.  While there is legitimate concerns around ensuring that cash payments are used efficiently and effectively, this risk surely outweighs the built-in waste from tied aid.  As an example, CARE – an NGO dedicated to ending global poverty – has committed to phasing out acceptance of tied food aid, calling the process of “purchasing food in the US, shipping it overseas, and then selling it to generate funds for food security programs” inefficient and far less cost-effective than simple cash funding.      

Due to pressure from charity and NGO organizations, the 2008 Farm Bill included a pilot project to test the use of local and regional food aid purchases.  The special provision, however, was limited to about one percent of the US’s food aid budget for direct payments. 

The agriculture committees of the House and the Senate are starting to draft the next farm bill.  This represents the best opportunity for modifying the US’s foreign aid policy to transition from tied food aid to more effective, efficient and fair direct payments.

Please sign this petition to encourage Congress to further untie food aid to US products and services in the 2012 Farm Bill.

Additionally, you can send a letters to your legislators.  The links below will help you find and contact the appropriate people.  

You can send an email to the Senate Agriculture Committee at the following link:

http://ag.senate.gov/site/index-5.html

 

You can send an email to the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee at the following link:

AgRepublicanPress@mail.house.gov

 

You can find and email your Representative at the following link:

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

 

You can find and email your Senator at the following link:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

 

References:

1 http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RL34145.pdf

2 http://hungerreport.org/2011/report/chapters/three/untie-aid

3 http://www.care.org/newsroom/articles/2005/12/food_aid_whitepaper.pdf

 

Other sources of information on the Farm Bill and Tied Food Aid:

http://actionaidusa.org/assets/pdfs/food_rights/foodaid_policysummary_final1.pdf

http://www.aec.msu.edu/fs2/papers/idwp91.pdf

http://www.crs.org/get_involved/advocacy/food_aid/in_depth.cfm

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&refer=home&sid=aU7BLQWMss2k

http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/aidnow-tiedaidroundtrip.pdf

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/51/35/44375975.pdf

http://www.agobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=97624

http://www.agobservatory.org/library.cfm?refid=98205

http://humanitarian-policy.blogspot.com/2010/02/international-food-aid-programs.html

http://www.fas.usda.gov/excredits/FoodAid/LRP/LRP.asp



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