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New York Times | Food Aid Reforms

May 12, 2013
In The News


Food Aid Reforms
By Jonathan Zasloff | New York Times | May 12, 2013 

Re "Proposal for Changes in Food Aid Sets off Infightin in Congress" (news article, May 3): American taxpayers’ food aid dollars should go to help starving people, not line the pockets of special interests. That’s why the reform proposal for allowing the local purchase of food for aid represents the best policy.

More than half the money for foreign food aid in the form of grain goes to shipping and procurement. Local purchase of food will cut out middlemen and deliver food to the hungry weeks faster. Four million more hungry people can be fed if the rules are reformed.

Representative Robert B. Aderholt, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture, worries that reform would hurt American farmers. But food aid currently accounts for less than 1 percent of American agricultural exports.

“Exports via food aid are a small drop in the market,” Veronica Nigh of the American Farm Bureau Federation told Reuters. “Our concern is less about decreasing an important revenue stream for U.S. agriculture. It’s more about the loss of a sense of pride.”

Surely Congress can shore up American agriculture’s sense of pride without letting four million people starve.


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