In the last version of the Farm Bill, Bread for the World worked to ensure there were a number of reforms added to help improve food aid, including an USDA program authorized to provide $80 million for local and regional procurement (LRP) each year. The new Farm Bill also increases, from 13 to 20 percent, the percentage of funding in the largest food aid program, Food for Peace, that can be spent on non-emergency programs with vouchers or commodities rather than through the much-criticized vehicle of monetized food aid.
Monetization is a major flaw in the U.S. food aid system, in which U.S. commodities are donated to NGOs, who then sell the food in recipient countries to raise money for their programs. It is widely understood to distort markets, hurting the same smallholder farmers that agricultural projects aim to help. Moreover, monetizing food aid is an extremely inefficient way to provide development assistance.
As efforts move forward with negotiations on the next version of the farm bill, we will seek to continue to improve U.S. food aid and have Congress engage with all stakeholders in order to maximize efficiencies and improve the reach of U.S. international food assistance programs.
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