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Congress Should Adopt More Flexibility In Food Aid Program

“Congress, through the House/Senate farm bill conference, once again has the opportunity to provide the U.S. international food aid program the flexibility that is essential for our help to be effective in responding to life-threatening disasters,” George Ingram, senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development Program, writes in the institution’s “Up Front” blog, highlighting the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. “The U.S. government needs the flexibility to purchase food commodities in the most efficient market, which sometimes will be the U.S., sometimes the country affected, and sometimes neighboring countries,” he writes, adding, “The House/Senate conference on the farm bill should adopt not just the modest change of 20 percent flexibility found in the Senate bill, but allow up to 30-40 percent, or, even better, 50 percent of our food assistance to be used for local and regional purchase if that is the most efficient and readily available source” (11/18).