SEATTLE, Washington — There are many ways to promote U.S. national security and international stability. One of which is to provide food security for those in need in developing countries. The United States provides many countries with food assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Doing so aids the promotion of U.S. interests and the quality of life for people in developing nations. H.Res. 742: Recognizing the continued success of the Food for Peace Act acknowledges the progress made by the Food for Peace Act (FFP) in increasing food security around the world and saving lives.
Food for Peace Act
Enacted in July 1954 by President Eisenhower, the Food for Peace Act (FFP) was designed to provide food assistance to poor people around the world. Since its passage, FFP has aided upwards of four billion people. Additionally, the FFP program assists people in war-ravaged areas, including refugees, and in areas where there are famines, droughts and other natural-disaster zones. FFP seeks to use local food to support local economies and food production.
The Food for Peace Act seeks to alleviate global hunger and decrease malnutrition by providing “adequate, safe and nutritious food to support a healthy and productive life” for those most in need. USAID distributes this assistance through food, cash transfers or food vouchers. FFP also reduces hunger and saves lives through its development and nutritional support activities.
USAID has several emergency activities to aid during times of crisis and emergency. The Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP) aims simultaneously to deal with food security issues. It bolsters local markets by supporting those markets directly or indirectly through cash transfers. USAID’s Title II designates food produced by U.S. farmers to go overseas to food-insecure populations. The Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT) enables USAID to act when Title II food commodities are unavailable. There are also essential complementary activities that “enhance the overall effectiveness and impact of emergency food assistance.” These programs include preventing and treating malnutrition, empowering young people in afflicted areas and reducing disaster risk.
USAID development activities support the long-term aid of vulnerable communities. They deal with the underlying causes of food insecurity and starvation. Activities aim to provide long-term solutions to global hunger and malnutrition, specifically for children under five and pregnant women. They also seek to improve the economic standing of those in need by diversifying household income and providing opportunities for microfinance and savings. Finally, these activities boost local agriculture to defend food security from shocks and stresses.
Nutritional Support Activities
The International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP) was established in 2000. It supports “the production, packaging and stockpiling of specialized (ready-to-use), shelf-stable prepackaged foods, and also for the transport, delivery and distribution of those commodities by U.S. and non-U.S. non-profit and Public International Organizations (PIO).” Above all, the top priority of IFRP is to improve the nutritional status of communities around the world, especially at-risk groups like children and the elderly. Other USAID activities to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable communities are grouped in with the emergency and development programs. Additionally, these activities include “therapeutic feeding, supplementary feeding and institutional feeding.”
H.Res. 742: Recognizing the Continued Success of the Food for Peace Act
H.Res.742 was introduced in the House on Dec. 5, 2019, by Rep. Jim Costa [D-CA-16] and has 10 cosponsors (7D, 3R). The resolution was agreed to by the House and sent for consideration by the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture on Dec 11.
Under the direction of the Food for Peace Act, USAID provides more international food aid than any other organization in the world. H.Res. 742: Recognizing the continued success of the Food for Peace Act acknowledges the good work of FFP and the benefits that international food security has on U.S. national security and the American economy.
– Sarah Frazer