The United States could reach an additional 6 million people facing hunger in the Sahel, if only the U.S. Congress allows at least 25 percent of food aid bought for its Food for Peace program to be purchased locally.
The numbers were based on the calculations made by ONE’s Kelly Hauser, who is urging Congress to put “special interests aside” and pass amendments to the Farm Bill. The move could “make a world of difference” during emergencies, such as the one in the Sahel.
Nongovernmental organizations and food aid advocates have long been calling on Congress to introduce reforms to the Farm Bill. Going local and ending monetization in U.S. food aid programs could benefit millions and save dollars, they argue. It could save lives in the Sahel now, Hauser said, and improve farmers’ incomes and local markets in the long run.
The U.S. Senate passed the bill Thursday (June 21), and the House Agriculture Committee is expected to start the bill’s markup July 11. The current Farm Bill is set to expire end of September.
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