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Food Aid Reform Critical To Efficiently Addressing Refugee Crises, U.S. National Security

Foreign Affairs: U.S. Food Aid’s Costly Problem
Vincent H. Smith, professor at Montana State University (MSU), co-director of MSU’s Agricultural Marketing Policy Center, and visiting scholar and co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s agricultural policy initiative, and Ryan Nabil, financial economics researcher at the American Enterprise Institute

“…Given the urgency of the humanitarian disaster in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agencies tasked with managing U.S. food aid programs, should strive to use their funds as effectively as possible. Yet through a number of burdensome regulations, Congress has severely restricted their efficiency. … Instead of maintaining regulations designed to benefit U.S. shipping companies, Congress should enable U.S. aid agencies to deliver emergency aid as quickly and cheaply as possible. Eliminating cargo preference and the requirement that the government source food aid from U.S. producers could save U.S. food agencies up to $350 million a year, or about 30 percent of the current U.S. emergency food aid annual budget, according to studies by the Government Accountability Office and scholars at George Mason University. Those kinds of savings could be used to deliver food aid to an additional four million to 10 million people. The effect on national security would be negligible. … Food aid reform would mitigate that problem, making the Syrians most in need, the United States, and the rest of the world better off” (11/1).

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