Says reform needed for food aid programs

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 6, 2014 

Extensive coverage of the passage of the farm bill focused on domestic reactions and critiques. Of course, the farm bill directly affects all Americans, not only those who are actively farming.

The farm bill also affects people around the world, especially those who need food urgently. The new bill gives the Agency for International Development flexibility to speed delivery of emergency food supplies. Unfortunately, the new bill does not enact needed reforms to international food aid to improve the promptness and nutritional quality of emergency food aid.

U.S. government assistance programs amount to a fraction of one percent of the federal budget, and have helped over 3 billion people around the world. Reforms to update procedures established in the 1950s can mitigate the decreases in food aid over the last several years. Of course, any increase in money for food aid that accompanies reform will be welcome. I am writing as a member of the ONE Campaign and Bread for the World, two non-profit organizations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger around the world. I urge readers to visit their websites and learn what has been done and what more needs to be done to achieve these goals.

Nicholas Mele

Bellingham

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