The Bush administration wants to ship Food for Peace program funds Overseas, instead of American Grain. Such Funds currently must be used to purchase American Food Products, and shipped in American vessels. It is claimed that Local areas Food Purchases would be lower in Cost, and Shipping Costs can be reduced if not avoided. It sounds good, Right? Wrong!
The Food for Peace program was started in 1954 for the specific purpose of disposing of Grain accumulated in the then-Current Government Price Support system. It made Sense then, and the Bush administration wants it to make less Sense now, after it has already lost any truly viable substance. Most of the rationale for the initial program had disappeared by the mid-1970s, but Administrations had already adopted Food for Peace as a diplomatic Chip to get preferential Trade and Support Agreements from Nations needing Aid. The Tradition still survives!
The Timing of the Bush administration push to switch Food Purchases to foreign sources coincides with Energy Companies’ Investment in ethanol production; they actively seeking the lowest cost for Corn possible. Energy Companies want to eliminate a serious competitive buyer of Corn stocks, even though they cannot rid themselves of the American Consumption market; One should expect higher Meat Prices domestically in any case. Federal purchase of foreign grains grants opportunity to gain influence in foreign economies, while any consideration of Sourcing practice in the Grain markets; the multinational Grain Corporations will still sell the majority of Grains to the Program, though it will admittedly be quite inferior to the current American standards imposed on Consignments listed for human consumption. Enrichment of Local farmers will not led to capital infrastructure investment in Grain production, as such Subsistence farmers will spend any Gains on human improvement. The Gains for these Local farmers will be minor, as Corruption in these areas erode any benefit to Producers. It is assured, though, that Food Prices will increase Worldwide with transfer to purchase of Local grains for the Program.
The Food for Peace program is outdated, and should actually be replaced. I would suggest that Congress repeal the enabling Law, and substitute a Law providing only Supply of Fertilizers, Farm Implements, Irrigation project equipment, and Fuel for Farming purposes. This, of course, would defeat the Corporate agenda of serving their Profit line, at the expense of the initial Intent of the Program. lgl