World food group wants changes to Senate farm bill

The Alliance for Global Food Security is asking the Senate to make some changes to the farm bill passed by the Senate Ag Committee last week. The Alliance says the farm bill as it is right now “severely limits the use of food aid to promote development and to help crisis-prone communities become food secure and less reliant on emergency aid.” The Alliance says while the bill does a great job for emergency situations; it diminishes aid for non-emergency food aid programs.

Specifically the group says the bill reverses the focus of the Food for Peace or PL480 program cutting the minimum funding for developmental programs. Alliance officials say the program provides food aid to areas which repeatedly suffer from chronic shortfalls but would not qualify as an emergency.

The group is also concerned with changes to the monetization program which allows recipients to sell donated commodities and use the funds for other types of aid. The Senate bill does not allow the sale of commodities for less than 70 percent of the amount spent to buy and ship the product to the country. The Alliance contends it is not possible to know the price and shipping as the program is taking place plus this provision would interfere with local marketing.

The Senate bill also contains a “local-regional purchase program” to buy commodities for food aid overseas. The Alliance notes this would duplicate a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program already in place.

The Alliance for Global Food Security is made up of voluntary organizations and cooperatives working to ease hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity around the world. Members include ACDI/VOCA, Adventist Development & Relief Agency International, Congressional Hunger Center, Counterpart International, Food for the Hungry, International Relief & Development, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Land O’Lakes, OIC International, Planet Aid, PCI, Salesian Missions and World Vision.

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