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Mondale and Durenberger on Preserving Food Aid for Development

Food Aid - Stacks of grain 
Bags of Corn-Soy Blend, a mix of corn meal and soy flour, stacked in a CRS warehouse in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Photo by Michelle Harrington/CRS

Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger have written a commentary for thier hometown newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, that highlights an important food aid proposal being put forward by more than a dozen humanitarian agencies, including CRS:

A Better Way to Help the World’s Hungry – Crisis Relief, but not at the Expense of Programs to Help People Feed Themselves.

Ghana School Feeding
Young girls at a school in Ghana eat a meal provided by the food aid program. Photo by Sean Sprague for CRS.

The commentary deals with the fact that food aid resources are increasingly being diverted from long-term development programs to fund emergencies.

Food aid is not just an important resource in emergencies like natural disasters. It can also be a powerful tool in long-term development programs that help people build up the resources they need to eventually become self-sufficient.

At least 75 percent of U.S. food aid is supposed to be dedicated to these kinds of long-term development programs. But in recent years, the ratio has been reversed — 75 percent of food aid being used for emergencies, leaving only 25 percent for development.

The legislative fix favored by Mr. Mondale and Mr. Durenberger would mandate that at least half of the food aid budget be devoted to long-term development, placing it in a “safebox.” We feel that this is a sensible and equitable solution that will help us respond to unforeseen emergencies, while preserving these vital long-term programs that fight chronic hunger and increase food security.

For more information, the CRS website has a page on Food Aid and Food Security. We have also issued an Action Alert that outlines these proposals on fighting worldwide hunger through the 2007 Farm Bill and suggests ways to contact Congress.

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