Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
  • Golden calf on Wall Street
  • Sri Lanka children - Jim Stipe
  • Seedbag
  • corn bags
  • Altar in Palestine - R Rodrick Beiler

2014 Farm Bill: Common-sense, balanced international food aid provisions

At least 20 organizations, including the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Bread for the World, American Jewish World Service, among others, signed the following letter to Congressional leaders, thanking them for positive provisions on international food aid contained in the 2014 Farm Bill.

January 28, 2014

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Chairwoman
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Senator Thad Cochran
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

Representative Frank Lucas
Chairman
House Committee on Agriculture

Representative Collin Peterson
Ranking Member
House Committee on Agriculture

We would like to express strong support for the common-sense and balanced provisions enabling further reform of U.S. international food aid provisions contained in the trade title of the 2014 Farm Bill, and thank the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees for their leadership and contributions to this effort.

These provisions represent significant steps in improving the efficiency of U.S. food aid programs and will allow the U.S. to assist more hungry people around the world without additional cost.

In particular, we note that the 2014 Farm Bill addresses the key reform principles supported by our organizations:

(1) improving the ability of the U.S. to respond to humanitarian emergencies and chronic food insecurity with a wider range of tools and greater flexibility in the use of food aid resources that ensures the most appropriate response in each context, and

(2) reducing the need to monetize commodities to raise funding for development projects under U.S. food aid programs.

The Farm Bill Conference report supports these principles in the following ways:

  • Establishes a permanent Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) program to be operated at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, authorized at $80 million annually
  • Increases the share of Title II (Food for Peace) funds that can be used to cover non-commodity expenses of food aid programs, up to 20 percent from its current cap of 13 percent, while broadening the scope of activities that can be paid for by these funds to included direct costs of development programs, thus decreasing the need to monetize food aid commodities and improving flexibility for programs
  • Promotes transparency in the costs of food aid by requiring the U.S. Agency for International Development to report on costs involved in program implementation, including overseas transportation, storage, and handling of commodities, administrative costs, and cost recovery for monetized food aid, with additional reporting required on monetization transactions that fail to generate at least a 70 percent recovery rate
  • Provides robust funding for development food aid programs
  • Maintains key funding for efforts to improve food aid quality initially provided in the 2008 farm bill, and
  • Increases resources for the U.S. Agency for International Development to operate overseas facilities for pre-positioned food aid commodities, to improve response times to emergencies.

We look forward to working with Congress and the administration towards the implementation of these reforms once the Farm Bill is enacted.