With world hunger rates rising, President Biden announced Wednesday at the United Nations an additional $2.9 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance, including funds to feed schoolchildren and expand food production. We’re “taking on the food crisis head-on,” said Biden in a speech that denounced Russia for invading Ukraine and called for action on global warming.
President Biden will announce three steps to encourage American farmers “to boost production, lower food prices, and feed the world” during a visit to a family farm in northern Illinois on Wednesday afternoon, said the White House. Action by the USDA would be a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to high inflation at home.
Six countries in Africa and the Middle East will receive $670 million in additional food aid to mitigate severe food insecurity, said the Biden administration on Wednesday. The assistance will mean the complete drawdown of a USDA emergency fund for the purchase of U.S. commodities for donation to hunger programs overseas.
For the second time in 14 months, President Trump announced a multibillion-dollar government intervention to prop up the farm sector, a prominent casualty of the Sino-U.S. trade war. The first bailout, announced in April 2018, has sent around $8.3 billion in cash to growers so far; the new rescue will buy "agricultural products from our Great Farmers, in larger amounts than China ever did, and ship it to poor & starving countries in the form of humanitarian assistance," the president said on social media.
The Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service in June released its annual International Food Security Assessment (IFSA), an outlook for global food security for the coming decade. The report estimated that global food security would improve over the coming 10 years, with a decline in the number of food-insecure people from 782 million in 2018 to 446 million in 2028.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to alleviate hunger overseas, would see $1.7 billion in funding in the new fiscal year, a Senate Appropriations subcommittee decided on Tuesday, ignoring a White House proposal to mothball the program.
The president of Mississippi State University, Mark Keenum, is President Trump's choice to become chairman of a USAID advisory group, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, said the White House. Keenum was the No. 3 Agriculture Department official during the George W. Bush era, overseeing U.S. farm subsidies, ag exports and foreign food aid before becoming university president in his home state in 2009.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to relieve hunger overseas through the donation of U.S.-produced food, would be mothballed by the Trump administration in its fiscal 2019 budget. In its place, the State Department would provide emergency food aid through a smaller-ticket disaster assistance office that is expected to be thriftier and fleeter of foot.
"U.S. food aid, totaling $2.4 billion a year, is a highly visible symbol of Americans' commitment to assist the downtrodden wherever they are in the world," write three analysts in an American Enterprise Institute paper that calls for sweeping reform. The paper recommends that the 2018 farm bill eliminate the requirement that half of U.S. food aid travel on U.S. ships, the "safe box" that earmarks money for local food projects and away from emergency aid, and also do away with restrictions on cash-based food aid.