WASHINGTON (March 4, 2015) – The global poverty-fighting organization CARE applauds last week’s introduction of a bi-partisan bill that would eliminate the inefficient, often-harmful practice of selling U.S. commodities on open markets to fund non-emergency development work. The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015 was introduced by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and committee member Chair Chris Coons (D-DE).
CARE has long called for the U.S. government to reform its food aid system to maximize its efficiency, effectiveness, and reach. In 2006, CARE made a principled decision to walk away from at least $45 million in federal funds a year by phasing out open-market “monetization,” whereby U.S. food is shipped overseas at great expense and sold on developing country markets.
With 805 million hungry people around the world, U.S. food and nutrition security programs must deliver lasting change. Yet studies have shown that our current system – designed sixty years ago – is outdated, slow, inefficient, and potentially harmful to poor, smallholder farmers.
The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015 will modernize the U.S. food aid system for the 21st century. It will provide the U.S. and partners the flexibility to use every tool in the toolbox to respond to food crises around the world, including shipping U.S. grain to areas in need or relying on local and regional purchase, a practice that is up to 50 percent cheaper and over two months faster – critical efficiencies in emergencies. The bill also will end the inefficient and harmful practice of open-market monetization.
“We applaud the introduction of this vital legislation—it will feed more hungry people and save many more lives around the world,” said Helene D. Gayle, president and CEO of CARE. “CARE has seen how selling U.S. grain in developing country markets actually harms poor farmers trying to sell their own crops. Rather than undermine their livelihoods, this bill will help empower the very farmers who hold the key to ending long-term hunger and poverty.”
The recently-passed Farm Bill of 2014 included important and significant reforms to U.S. food aid programs that will enable the U.S. to reach as many as 800,000 more people. CARE is proud of the leadership members of Congress demonstrated in taking these critical, initial steps. The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2015 takes those reforms a necessary step further to bring our food aid system fully into the 21st century. These full reforms will enable the U.S. and partners to reach millions more hungry people.
In an era of tight budgets and intractable global hunger, CARE believes in the responsibility to be better stewards of U.S. taxpayer dollars, to meet the immediate food needs of families in crisis as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to tackle the underlying causes of long-term hunger and malnutrition.
CARE looks forward to working with Senators Corker and Coons as well as the stalwart champions of food aid reform in the Farm Bill of 2014 to ensure the U.S. has the best international food aid system possible.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 90 countries and reached more than 72 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.
Washington, D.C.: Stephanie Chen, CARE, email@example.com, +1-202-595-2824