House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Boosts Funding for International Agriculture and Food Aid

July 1, 2010 By Meghan Simonds

Underscoring the growing importance of global food security, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a draft FY 2011 spending bill yesterday that increases funding for international food aid.  This funding complements the House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee’s approval of a draft spending bill with $1 billion for the President’s Feed the Future initiative to combat global hunger ($300 million below the President’s request).

The draft agriculture spending bill increases funding for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world’s poorest countries.  The Subcommittee allocated $266.5 million for the program, $57 million more than the President’s request, 27 percent more than FY 2010 funding, and 167 percent more than the FY 2009 appropriation of $100 million.

The bill also increases by $2 million funding for the Borlaug Scholarship, an educational fellowship program for international and agricultural scientists, bringing the total for the program to $4 million.  The bill also fully funds the Food for Peace program at the President’s request and 2010 level of $1.69 billion.  The Food for Peace program has existed for more than 50 years, and according to USAID, “approximately 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefited directly from our food.”

The increases, especially during a time of deepening food shortages in many developing countries and the global financial crisis, show that international food aid is an important pillar of our diplomacy and our national and economic security.  The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee’s actions highlight that farmers across the world are important players in smart power development and diplomacy and U.S. efforts to alleviate global poverty.  As we work with them to eradicate hunger, robust international food aid resources like those allocated yesterday will bolster our fight.

As then-Senator John F. Kennedy said shortly before being elected as President, “Food is strength, and food is peace, and food is freedom, and food is a helping hand to people around the world whose good will and friendship we want.”