Congress Considers Changes To Food Bill, Food For Peace Program

“As typhoon relief efforts ramp up in the Philippines, critics say the United States needs more flexibility in how it delivers food aid,” VOA News reports, noting “[t]he crisis hits as Congress is … considering changes that would allow up to 20 percent of the Food for Peace budget to be spent on [local or regional purchase (LRP)] or other uses” (Baragona, 11/14). “Those opposed to the Senate farm bill’s major revisions of the U.S. food aid model — used in the Food for Peace and Food for Progress — say U.S. jobs and military readiness would be affected if proposed changes are included in the new farm bill,” according to Delta Farm Press, which adds, “Meanwhile, proponents of change point out the savings would mean reaching at least four million additional hungry people annually — and would do it quicker than is currently possible” (Bennett, 11/13).

“The need for food aid reform has never been clearer than in the constraints on our ability to respond to the recent typhoon in the Philippines, which has claimed at least several thousand lives and left millions homeless, hungry and in great need,” the ONE blog states, adding,”[R]eform to expand resources available for [LPR] would allow rice and other essential food supplies to be purchased closer to the Philippines from neighboring countries like Thailand and Indonesia, and then shipped directly to the devastated areas” (Brennan, 11/14).