As a community of people who are committed to the issue of global hunger, World Food Day is particularly important to CRS Helping Hands.
So, this World Food Day, October 16, take action to end world hunger by telling Congress to reauthorize a comprehensive, future-minded Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill is a U.S. law that is responsible for a broad range of agricultural and food programs that address global hunger. It authorizes government spending to extend credit and other support to farmers, and for trade, research and food aid, both domestic and international.
The Farm Bill provides food directly from U.S. farmers to the most vulnerable people around the world through U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and non-governmental groups like Catholic Relief Services.
History of the Farm Bill
The United States has been working to end hunger and malnutrition around the world since the Farm Bill was first passed in 1954. This bill has been the main mechanism allowing us to send food commodities overseas to provide immediate hunger relief. More recently, the Farm Bill has provided funding for local development projects addressing the root causes of hunger.
International Food Aid
International food aid programs were created to reduce large agricultural surpluses in the United States. They also allowed the U.S. government to support economic goals around the world. Now, these programs primarily support emergency response and agricultural development.
The Food for Peace Act, or FFPA, is the main mechanism for international food aid programs. FFPA has been reauthorized as part of each Farm Bill since the 1970s. Through FFPA the United States fights global hunger and its root causes through development of sustainable agriculture, trade and markets, and by reducing conflict.
As the largest private distributor of U.S. food aid, CRS responds to emergencies like natural disasters and famine. But we also need funding for programs that effect long-term growth and change—and prevent hunger.
CRS projects in Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi and Niger are helping people develop sustainable sources of food. But with more frequent and severe natural disasters, as well as war and disease, impacting sources of food, water and livelihoods, we must—and we can—do more. We need the flexibility to intervene appropriately on a case-by-case basis—whether that means airlifting food to answer an immediate hunger crisis, or distributing vouchers and cash to help people access locally available food.
The Farm Bill is up for reauthorization in 2018 because the current bill, authorized in 2014, is expiring. This is an opportunity to pass a new Farm Bill that looks to the future to solve global hunger.
A bridge to a better future for millions of people around the world, the Farm Bill provides not only food, but also funding for other critical needs like transportation, seeds and fuel, educational programs for children and adults, medical supplies and agricultural equipment.
Honor World Food Day by taking action with Catholics Confront Global Poverty. Check back on October 16th for our action alert.