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Failure To Renew U.S. Farm Bill Would Be Missed Opportunity To Help End Global Hunger

“The U.S. Farm Bill that was up for renewal in September in the House of Representatives could have included policies to support farmers in developing countries in their efforts to grow enough food to feed the local population,” but “Congress allowed the Farm Bill to expire on Sept. 30,” Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), writes in the Huffington Post’s “Religion” blog. “If Congress does not act quickly after the election to pass a new Farm Bill, the money that exists for emergency food aid will run out in 2013,” potentially putting “up to 30 million hungry people at risk in the event of a crisis,” she continues, adding, “The failure to renew and reform the Farm Bill would also mean a missed opportunity to help end global hunger in the long term through sustainable solutions.”

Messinger says if the U.S. purchased food aid locally in or near the communities in need, the government “could be providing food aid to at least 17 million more people each year for the same money” and “would also reach hungry people faster, since buying food locally in developing countries saves weeks or even months currently lost to transportation time.” In addition, she writes “local purchasing helps support the farmers in developing countries who are the backbone of a sustainable food system.” Messinger describes several food aid initiatives of the AJWS and concludes, “As we move beyond Election Day, let us all put partisan politics aside and ensure that farmers in Haiti, migrant workers in Cambodia, children in Kenya, and all of our fellow Americans can experience the blessings of sustenance and learning that so many of us enjoy” (11/5).