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International Food Assistance Subject of House Hearing

On June 24, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing, “Review of the International Food Aid Programs.”

After describing the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Food for Peace program, Thomas H. Staal, acting assistant administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, detailed the program’s work: “In the Sahel – an arid belt that stretches from Senegal through Niger and Burkina Faso to Chad – we are helping farmers, especially women, plant drought-resistant crops, like onions. In Ethiopia, we are working with some of the poorest communities to improve irrigation systems to reduce the time required for irrigation and diversify crops grown, particularly for women farmers.”

Mr. Staal continued, “We teach mothers how to cook healthy foods for their children and improve their access to nutritious foods to prevent malnutrition in the first place. These efforts are especially focused on reaching children in the first 1,000 days of life, when a child’s brain and body is still developing. Complementing this work, USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] is active in Kenya with McGovern Dole programs that are feeding school children and teaching nutrition. These programs empower communities to combat chronic food insecurity and be better prepared to bounce back from crises, so that they are less reliant on humanitarian food assistance.”

Philip Karsting, administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA, also testified.

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