U.S. International Food Aid Programs: Background and Issues [April 1, 2015]   [open pdf - 609KB]

"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 donation or sale on concessional terms of U.S. agricultural commodities. Objectives of U.S. foreign food aid include providing emergency and humanitarian assistance in response to natural or manmade disasters and promoting agricultural development and food security. Historically, U.S. international food aid has been distributed through four main program authorities: (1) the Food for Peace Act (FFPA, also known as P.L. 480); (2) the Section 416(b) program (which has been inactive since 2007); (3) the Food for Progress Act of 1985; and (4) the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. Since 2010, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has also used its authority under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) to initiate cash-based food assistance under the Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP) as a complement to FFPA Title II emergency in-kind food aid donations. In addition, the 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) added the local and regional purchase project which also relies on cash-based assistance. These six food assistance programs are administered either by the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or USAID. The Section 416(b) program is permanently authorized by the Agricultural Act of 1949. EFSP is authorized through the FAA. The other programs are re-authorized in periodic farm bills; most recently (through FY2018) by the 2014 farm bill."

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CRS Report for Congress, R41072
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