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World Vision urges U.S. Government for food aid reform that saves more lives

Media contact:

Holly Frew
World Vision Media Relations Manager

Washington, DC (April 10, 2013) – The Obama administration announced today its budget request for fiscal year 2014 including a proposal for food aid reform. World Vision welcomes efforts to improve food assistance programs, but urges Congress to adhere to the set of principles recently developed by leading NGOs that will ensure food assistance remains focused on reaching those most in need.

“U.S. food aid programs are among the most effective in the foreign assistance budget, and have experienced decades of success and bipartisan support. World Vision supports the Administration’s efforts to find cost-effective ways to build on the success of existing programs,” said Robert Zachritz, senior director of Government Relations at World Vision. “However, we have serious concerns that eliminating the P.L. 480, Title II program could threaten that success and prevent the world’s poorest and most vulnerable from receiving life-saving food assistance.”

The administration’s food aid reform includes a shift of funding previously requested in P.L. 480 Title II to three other assistance accounts:

  • International Disaster Assistance (IDA) for emergency food response;
  • Development Assistance (DA) for the Community Development and Resilience Fund (CDRF) to address chronic food insecurity in areas of recurrent crises; and
  • A new Emergency Food Assistance Contingency Fund.

“The PL 480 Title II is a private-public partnership that has worked well for nearly 60 years to leverage private resources and investment. According to USAID, in fiscal year 2012, the cost per metric ton of food under P.L. 480, Title II was less expensive than the Emergency Food Assistance program under IDA, which is where the administration is proposing to shift the majority of the funding," said Zachritz. “World Vision is concerned that dismantling the PL 480 Title II program will reduce overall flexibility and options to the administration in administering food aid and will ultimately increase the number of hungry people needing help.”

Under the principles agreed upon by leading NGOs, food assistance programs must also allow for more flexible use of tools such as cash transfers, food vouchers and the local procurement of goods alongside provision of U.S. commodities and direct program funding in order to reach more hungry people.

“As food aid reform negotiations continue, World Vision urges U.S. lawmakers to take these principles into consideration to implement reform that truly improves our ability to reach the most vulnerable.

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About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews