January 28, 2014 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Carolyn Miles, and Connie Veillette
With the release of the 2014 Farm Bill, MFAN applauds Congress for including key reforms to U.S. international food assistance that would allow for greater flexibility and efficiency of our food aid programs . We commend the Farm Bill conferees, particularly the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees – Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN), respectively – for their bipartisan efforts in pushing for these common-sense reform provisions.
U.S. international food assistance programs are critical to helping hungry people in times of crisis as well as to securing long-term food security for the world’s most vulnerable. The reforms included in the Farm Bill will help make these programs more efficient and effective so that U.S. assistance can reach more hungry people around the world.
MFAN is supportive of the provisions included in the Farm Bill to improve international food aid, including:
- The authorization of $80 million for Local and Regional Procurement (LRP), which will help save time and money and support local agriculture;
- An increase in the share of Title II (Food for Peace) funds that can be used to cover non-commodity expenses of food aid programs, allowing for a decrease in the need to monetize commodities and an increase in flexibility;
- Promoting transparency by requiring USAID to report on the costs involved in implementing food assistance programs, such as the cost recovery rate for monetized food aid.
We urge swift passage in both the House and Senate of the international food aid reform provisions included in the 2014 Farm Bill. Enacting these reforms will mean reaching hungry people faster and making U.S. taxpayer dollars more accountable.