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The G8 and the “New Approach” to Food Aid


All this talk about a “new approach” to food aid for Africa — instead of deliveries of food, money is to be spent helping countries develop their own agriculture industries — brings to mind a provision in the 2008 farm bill (which Obama voted for):

But perhaps the most egregious item in the new farm bill relates to international food aid. A longstanding provision governing U.S. food aid to foreign countries requires that all the food America sends abroad be purchased from American farmers. This means that, however much we allocate toward international food aid, a chunk of the money goes toward transporting food from the U.S. to its final destination. In light of an increasing food-scarcity problem in less-developed countries, the Bush administration asked Congress to help cut down on transportation costs by allowing the food-aid program to purchase 25 percent of the food it distributes overseas from local farmers in destination countries. This would have allowed the U.S. to provide more food for starving people for same amount of money. Bowing to the American farm lobby, Congress refused.

Seems to me that the best way to help African countries to develop their own agriculture industries would be to stop flooding them with subsidized food grown here.


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