Each year, the United States spends $2 billion to purchase food for people living in poverty around the world. That’s more than half the total worldwide aid spent to alleviate hunger.
But five years ago the $2 billion from the United States fed 90 million of the world’s hungry; this year, it’s only feeding 70 million, or so says a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report also noted a 43% decline in the amount of actual food that got delivered.
Red Tape Eats World Hunger Aid
The GAO said that rising transportation and logistical costs were to blame for the decreased world hunger aid. After subtracting the transportation and administrative expenses there was only a third of the budget left to purchase food.
What the GAO doesn’t explain is this: How was the United Nations able to deliver 30% more food per dollar than the U.S.?
Restrictions Placed on U.S. World Hunger Aid
The United Nations has increasingly sent hunger aid in the form of cash to countries in need, letting those countries buy food from their own region of the world—which drastically cuts down on expensive ocean shipping charges.
But world hunger aid from the United States, by law, can only consist of food grown in America.
One thing the Bush administration HAS done right is, for the last three years, asked Congress to allow more world hunger food to be purchased from non-American countries. This would allow more food to reach more starving mouths more quickly. In short, it would save more lives.
But Congress appears ready to kill the request again. Why?
Because there’s opposition from legislators like Blanche Lincoln, the Democratic senator from Arkansas. Lincoln is afraid that the government might use hunger aid funds to purchase food from competitors in other countries. She says: “If you want to see safe, affordable and abundant food supply in the United States, somebody’s got to stand up for our growers.”
So, this year millions of children will die to insure the American farmer gets a fair share of world hunger aid expenditures.
[tags]world hunger, poverty[/tags]