WASHINGTON – The ONE Campaign applauds House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) for introducing the Food Aid Reform Act. This bipartisan bill will provide much needed flexibility and overdue reforms to the way the United States currently delivers its food aid, similar to reforms included in the Administration’s FY14 budget.
Tom Hart, U.S. Executive Director of ONE, says:
“These smart policy reforms will not only save the US taxpayer money, but also ensure that when millions of lives are on the line due to a shortage of food, the generosity of the American people will reach more people, more quickly, at lower cost.
Representatives Royce and Bass have submitted a timely and welcome proposal to address current inefficiencies in our nation’s food assistance program, and we urge Congress to enact these reforms.”
The Food Aid Reform Act has three important provisions:
First, it allows the U.S. government the option to respond to food emergencies using a variety of methods. When appropriate, the government can choose to use traditional direct food assistance; however, when savings can be gained in time and cost, local and regional purchase will be used to provide food for those in need.
Second, it effectively eliminates the inefficient practice of “monetization,” by which the U.S. government buys and ships agricultural commodities to private voluntary organizations who then sell them to finance their development programs. It is estimated that eliminating monetization will result in savings of $30 million per year.
Third, this bill exempts food assistance from cargo preference, a practice that adds unnecessary costs to shipping commodities. Under current law, whenever the U.S. government procures commodities to be shipped overseas, at least 50% of overall tonnage needs to be shipped by U.S.-flagged vessels. Exempting commodities from this policy will result in an estimated $50 million in savings per year. In this time of fiscal discipline, any opportunity to do more with the same amount of resources should be considered.
According to a study at Cornell University, these reforms would deliver food aid 11 to 14 weeks faster than the current system, reaching 2 to 4 million more people.
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organization backed by more than 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. For more information visit ONE.org.