International Food Aid Programs: Background and Issues [June 23, 2014]   [open pdf - 491KB]

"For almost six decades, the United States has played a leading role in global efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition and to enhance world food security through international food aid assistance--primarily through either the sale on concessional terms or the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities. Foreign food aid assistance accounts for about 4% of total U.S. foreign aid each year, with economic and military assistance accounting for most outlays. The objectives of foreign food aid include providing emergency and humanitarian assistance in response to natural or manmade disasters, and promoting agricultural development and food security. […] While the 2014 farm bill made some modest changes to existing U.S. food aid programs, the Administration (as part of the annual appropriations process) and bipartisan bills in both the House (H.R. 1983) and Senate (S. 2421) have proposed making more sweeping 'reforms' to both the structure and intent of U.S. food aid programs. Changes would include eliminating cargo preference (i.e., legislation requiring use of U.S.-flag vessels for shipping food aid) and monetization (the process of selling U.S. commodities in recipient-country markets to generate cash for development activities), while expanding flexibility in the use of cash-based forms of assistance."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41072
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