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Washington, D.C. – As some members of Congress threaten to set progress back in U.S. food-aid programs with their efforts to benefit U.S. shipping companies, Bread for the World today commended U.S. leadership in ending hunger and called for the strengthening of programs that help to reduce malnutrition and spur development worldwide.
“Now is not the time to reverse reforms to U.S. food-aid programs,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World Institute, in a speech at the Feed the Future Forum this morning. “With 842 million people around the world still going hungry every day, now is the time to invest more in programs like Feed the Future.”
Held in Washington, D.C., over the last two days, the Feed the Future Forum joins hundreds of representatives from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other U.S. government staff with government officials from Feed the Future countries, civil society, the private sector, and implementing partners.
Speaking at the forum, Beckmann emphasized that U.S. food aid does a lot of good in the world, but stressed that millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted by requiring that nearly all the food commodities come from this country and be shipped by a few U.S.-flagged ships.
“We won some reform in this year’s farm bill, but in other legislation, the subsidized shippers managed to increase their subsidies at the expense of 1.4 million fewer people receiving food aid every year,” said Beckmann. “Recently, the shipping lobby managed to convince the House of Representatives to increase their subsidy by directly taking away food aid from another 2 million hungry people. It is unconscionable to steal food from 3.4 million people hungry just to give more subsidies to three of the world’s largest shipping companies.”
During the same speech, Beckmann also underscored the importance of U.S. government leadership in ending hunger around the world.
“The Obama administration responded swiftly to the hunger crisis as a result of the food price crisis in 2009,” he added. “The U.S.-led international response helped to reverse the three-year surge in food prices and put the world back on track toward ending world hunger.”
In addition, in his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama committed his administration to help end extreme poverty in two decades—a commitment that is reflected in two USAID announcements this week on nutrition and food security, as well as Feed the Future’s new action plan for collaborating with civil society in the United States and abroad.
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