Reshape Food Aid: A MADRE Alert
Posted on: Monday, August 6, 2007
Reshape Food Aid:
Reach More People | Support Local Farmers
A MADRE Action Alert
The world’s problems are interconnected; therefore we need to look for holistic solutions that impact those problems at the points where they converge. The pending USDA 2007 Farm Bill is an important opportunity to do just that. The Farm Bill - set to be reauthorized by Congress this Fall - will define US policy on food and agriculture for the next five to seven years. The bill will impact health, nutrition, hunger, poverty, biodiversity, climate change, workers’ rights, migration, Indigenous rights, and women’s human rights both in the US and around the world.
MADRE’s Food for Life Campaign is pressing for a US Farm Bill that will positively impact this web of issues, for they are at the heart of our global crisis, which means they are also the site of sustainable solutions.
Most people in the US agree that federal food aid should be geared towards alleviating hunger in emergencies while creating long-term solutions to hunger and poverty worldwide. Right now, US food aid programs fall woefully short on both counts, but we have a chance to change that.
The UN World Food Program found that it was able to obtain 75 percent more corn to feed hungry families in Africa between 2001 and 2005 by buying corn from local farmers in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia instead of from US factory farms. Yet, the current US Farm Bill requires that all federal food aid be produced in the United States and shipped abroad by US companies. As a result, transportation and overhead account for up to 65 percent of the budget for food aid. Since 2002, rising shipping costs have meant a 43 percent decline in the amount of food distributed as aid. And because food aid must be bought, packaged, and shipped in the US, it can take months to reach people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where most US food aid goes.
This system also undermines long-term solutions to world hunger by dumping US-grown food on countries where local farmers could be providing comparable resources. Instead of using US tax dollars to buy food exclusively from corporate-owned US farms that already receive billions in government subsidies, food aid should be purchased from local farmers in the Global South.
MADRE supports a proposal for the new Farm Bill that would allow 25 percent of emergency resources to be spent on food grown by people in the country or region where aid is needed, rather than by large-scale US factory farms. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives dropped this provision from its version of the Farm Bill. But now the Senate is scheduled to debate the bill. Make sure that your Senators hear from you and your friends about the importance of distributing US food aid efficiently and equitably.
Call your US Senators and tell them:
- Your name and address (to confirm that they represent you in Congress).
- The Senate should support a provision to allow up to $300 million of food to be bought near the places in crises during emergency food distributions.
- Food aid should aim to meet urgent needs and promote long-term solutions to world hunger.
- Food aid should not be driven by the interests of US agribusiness and shipping companies.
To find the phone number for your Senators, use this tool or call the Senate switchboard at 202.224.3121.
Please forward this action alert on to friends in and outside of your state – together we can make real change happen.
Archives"Press Releases" Home February 2014 January 2014 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 March 2013 February 2013 September 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 November 2010 October 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 September 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 January 2009 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 October 2006 July 2006 June 2006 September 2005 January 2004 August 2001
Kat Noel, Website & Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
Haiti: the neoliberal model imposed on the country is failing its citizens (The Guardian, February 5, 2014)
Human rights group slams Iraq over treatment of women in prison (Miami Herald, February 2, 2014)
New Ways to Evaluate Impact (Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 24, 2014)
Poverty, Homelessness and Gender Violence Remains High Four Years After Earthquake (Uprising Radio , January 17, 2014)
Empowering Haiti's rape survivors (CNN, January 14, 2014)