U.S.-based NGOs to Appropriators: Oppose Increase to Cargo Preference Requirements

December 2, 2015

The Honorable Thad Cochran
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Harold Rogers
House Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Ranking Member
House Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen Cochran and Rogers and Ranking Members Mikulski and Lowey:

As international humanitarian and development organizations addressing global hunger and malnutrition, we strongly oppose any provision in the omnibus appropriations bill that increases the percentage or portion of U.S.-sourced food aid commodities that must be transported on privately owned, U.S.-flagged commercial vessels.

In April 2014, the Department of Homeland Security warned that increasing agriculture cargo preference (ACP) restrictions on U.S. food aid from 50 percent to 75 percent would increase transportation costs for U.S. international food aid programs by $75 million annually, and result in up to 2 million vulnerable people losing access to life-saving food aid from the United States. This proposed change to cargo preference follows the Budget Act of 2013, which eliminated mandated reimbursements to USAID from Department of Transportation intended to offset part of the ocean freight cost of international food aid programs.  The cumulative effect drastically increases the cost of shipping U.S. food and will have an overwhelmingly negative impact on the ability to operate food aid programs efficiently.

As you know, U.S. international food aid supports the food and nutrition needs of 56 million children and families on average each year and, consequently, helps to stabilize situations that can become threats to our national security. We strongly believe that funding for humanitarian food assistance should be used for its intended purpose: to provide lifesaving emergency and development assistance to the most vulnerable.  Evidence shows that ACP restrictions on U.S. food aid are inefficient and costly, and result in considerable reductions in the volume of food aid provided to populations in need.

Given the current number of global food security emergencies, it is more important than ever that U.S. food aid use taxpayer money responsibly by reaching as many people as possible. We urge Congress to reduce the burden of ACP on humanitarian food aid, and reject any efforts to increase agriculture cargo preference (ACP) requirements on U.S. food aid.


Action Against Hunger
American Jewish World Service
Bread for the World
Catholic Relief Services
ChildFund International
Church World Service
Concern Worldwide US
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Feed the Children
Global Poverty Project
Mercy Corps
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)
Oxfam America
Save the Children
The Borgen Project
The Hunger Project
World Food Program USA

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