Arid soils in Mauritania. The United States could reach an additional 6 million people facing hunger in the Sahel if 25 percent of food aid bought for its Food for Peace program is purchased locally. Photo by: Pablo Tosco / Oxfam / CC BY-NC-ND

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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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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