World Food Prize Laureate Warns against Deep Cuts to Programs that Reduce World Hunger
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Washington, DC, October 13, 2011
At a press conference today in Des Moines, Rev. David Beckmann, 2010 World Food Prize laureate and president of Bread for the World, urged Congress to protect funding for poverty-focused development assistance and domestic social safety net programs.
“As leaders from many countries meet at the annual World Food Prize Forum in Des Moines, the U.S. Congress is poised to make deep cuts to programs that are important to hungry people around the world,” said Rev. Beckmann. “Less than 1 percent of U.S. government spending goes to help reduce hunger and poverty around the world, but the House of Representatives has voted to cut these lifesaving programs by almost 20 percent this year.”
The number of hungry people around the world had gradually declined during the last decades, but turbulence in the global economy (especially high grain prices) has increased the extent of world hunger. In response, the U.S. government has helped to lead increased global investment in agricultural development and nutrition assistance in many of the world’s poorest countries.
With the severe humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa as a backdrop, proposed cuts would take away food aid from about 14 million of the hungriest people in the world. The cuts would also reduce agricultural development assistance, even though this assistance is crucial to overcoming the cycle of famine in that region.
In the United States, U.S. government programs for vulnerable people amount to only 19 percent of federal spending. But the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is facing devastating cuts that, if passed, could remove 1 million recipients from the rolls and leave 200,000 children without school lunches. At a time when U.S. poverty and food insecurity rates are the highest on record, one in five Americans is currently dependent on SNAP benefits to make ends meet.
“I urge Congress and the administration to form a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people,” added Beckmann. “Congress can—and should—reduce the federal deficit without adding to the hardship of poor people in our country and around the world.”
Rev. David Beckmann was a recipient of the World Food Prize in 2010.
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
Kristen Y. Archer, Acting Manager for Media Relations, 202-688-1118