CARE Turns Down U.S. Food Aid

My wife sent me this story, which related to a previous conversation we had had about US food aid being such a pain in the ass for the people receiving it.

Now the charity group CARE has become what I say will be the first of many to declare the having of had enough.

A major international charity has decided to turn down millions of dollars worth of grain from the U.S. government to feed the world’s hungry because it believes America’s method of delivering vital food supplies does more harm than good.

While the U.S. is responsible for almost half of all food donations to the developing world, it has become increasingly isolated because of its method for doing so. It is the only country to utilize “monetized food aid,” a method by which grain is shipped from America to charities in the developing world, who then sell the grain in the local market and invest the proceeds for its own programs.

“If we are trying to limit people’s vulnerability to food insecurity, we just couldn’t see how we could continue [monetized food aid] in good faith,” David Kauck, Senior Advisor at Care told TIME.

That’s a couple of well-put-together articles now, from Time. Although I doubt they care what I think. The International Herald Tribune has written it up very well, also.

The US approach to food aid is terrible – it is as much, or more, welfare for US farmers than for The Poor Bastards Of The World. US food takes months to arrive, rather than the mere days that locally-purchased food would take, is limited (because it may spoil) and, when it arrives, depresses local prices – precisely something “aid” should not do.

Can you imagine your government coming up with a form of welfare payments that drive down the incomes of America’s (for example) poor people, while giving them their benefits? It’s that obviously counter-productive. For the poor countries, at least – it’s still money in the pockets of US farmers, owners of at least one of the top 10 lobbies in Congress. Or rather, at Congress, though I was probably more correct the first time.


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