The Food Aid Reform is moving and shaking! Here at the Quixote Center we have been meeting and collaborating with other lobbyists to follow Congress’ movements as Food Aid Reform negotiations start. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote an op-ed that provides some great points on food aid reform, and even specifies Haiti. Here are our two favorite points:
- Buying food from farmers in-country promotes their own local economies and is a step towards self-sufficient markets. In essence, we will enable them to feed themselves, and they won’t need our food aid in the future.
- Our current process of shipping U.S. food abroad is inefficient. It takes 130 days longer to reach the hungry, and has lost $219 million of our taxpayer money over three years. With the Food Aid Reform, our aid will be both more efficient and reach up to 4 million more people.
Archbishop Coakley from Oklahoma City also chimed in with his own op-ed, here.
We know too well those sites described: in Haiti driving past fields of rice while on the roadside, merchants are selling U.S. flag-stamped bags. Hearing from small-acre famers who are struggling because our export-led aid has ruined their local markets.
Many of you have expressed your support for this reform by sending a letter to your representative. If you haven’t already, you can join the campaign.
Let’s not make the hungry hungrier. Let’s enable our partners to cultivate their own farms, sell their own food, and develop their own countries.