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Examining Debate Over Proposed Changes To U.S. Food Aid Program

“Should the U.S. pay its farmers and ship their food overseas, the traditional plan, or should it ship money overseas and pay poorer farmers abroad, as every other major food-producing nation does?” journalist Alan Bjerga asks in a Bloomberg News analysis examining the debate over changes to the U.S. food aid program proposed by the Obama administration. “The plan, like Bush’s less-ambitious attempts that ultimately stalled, has run into resistance in Congress, where legislators protecting farmers and shippers have balked at revamping programs that aid domestic exports,” he notes, adding, “The splits — which cross partisan boundaries and in the last decade ha[ve] pit lawmakers against presidents who share their party — arise over the question of who should the United States buy the food from?” He discusses the ongoing debate in Congress and concludes, “Boosting food aid bought from African farmers ‘helps create markets. The benefits for Africa are quite huge,’ [Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Akinwnumi Adesina] said” (6/10).