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Food Aid Examined by Senate Committee

On April 15, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing, “American Food Aid: Why Reform?” The hearing provided an update on current operations and challenges for food aid around the world.

Dina Esposito, director of Food for Peace, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), stated: “USAID’s programs seek to decrease hunger by increasing both agricultural production and the incomes of smallholder women and men in areas with high malnutrition and poverty rates who rely on this sector for their livelihoods.” She continued, “Ndeli Samuel, a widow with four children, is training with other community members to learn new farming techniques that will save water when irrigating crops in the arid zones…These efforts are critical to USAID’s resilience agenda, which seeks to help the world’s most vulnerable build adaptive capacities so that they can mitigate and bounce back from droughts, conflict, and other risks they face.”

David Ray, vice president of policy and advocacy, CARE USA, stated, “CARE’s program, called Kore Lavi (which translates to “Life Support”), is targeting the bottom 10 percent of the Haitian population living below that $1.25 a day poverty line…small-scale vendors of fresh foods, who are often women, are identified as a Kore Lavi vendor with a wide-brimmed hat and a branded ID badge.” He continued, “a special focus has been put on identifying and reaching vulnerable pregnant and lactating women, and children under the age of two who are in the critical 1,000 days window. These women and children are also eligible to receive additional rations of fortified US commodities to help ensure their nutritional needs are met while still enabling them to access local, fresh foods.”

The following witnesses also testified:

  • Stephanie Mercier, senior policy and advocacy, Farm Journal Foundation; and
  • Vincent Smith, American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar, professor of economics, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University.


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