A new report calls on the United States to cut red tape and apply long overdue reforms to the Farm Bill.
Oxfam and American Jewish World Services published “Saving Money and Lives: The Human Side of U.S. Food Aid Reform” Thursday (March 29). The report notes that in 2010, U.S. food aid amounting to more than $2 billion reached 65 million people. But Oxfam and AJWS said the United States could have reached 17.1 million more people. How? By going local and ending monetization of U.S. food aid programs.
The report provides several scenarios. It says if the United States allowed 33.3 percent of local or regional food purchases, an additional 4.8 million would have benefited from its food aid program. And if the United States ended monetization, the number could have gone up to 7.3 million. There could have been more gains if the United States employed the proposed reforms 100 percent.
The United States, according to the report, is lagging in local and regional procurement practices when compared with donors. It says “virtually all” food aid from Canada and Western European nations are procured locally and regionally.
Paul O’Brien, vice president for policy and campaigns at Oxfam America, said with the current budget climate, there can be no justification in turning down the chance to spend tax dollars more wisely.
“Save lives. Save tax dollars. This is a no-brainer,” O’Brien said.
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