Great progress is being made at the World Food Programme. The U.S. Representative to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture has announced that the US will allow for additional purchasing of food from local farmers in developing countries (including Uganda and Tanzania) under the World Food Programme’s Purchase for Progress program. The US will nearly double its purchase of local Maize to 400,000 metric tonnes. This is a huge step in the right direction
While food insecurity is a major global issue, the international response to this crisis has come at the expense of the local farmer. As Ambassador Cousin notes, “The US President traditionally ships food produced at home as aid to needy countries…Barack Obama’s administration is trying to change this.”
The US provides large amounts of aid for developing nations but a majority of US aid is tied to buybacks of US goods and services. The US supports the work of the World Food Programme generally with donations of US commodities, a policy that makes the economic situation in developing nations worse.
The dumping of food from donor countries on developing countries is crippling to local markets and farmers that are struggling to survive. Agriculture supports the livelihood of roughly 80% of Africans and by purchasing locally grown crops, and by increasing the market access of small farmers in Africa, we can help create an environment where Africa wins the fight against food insecurity. This shift in US policy is a step in the right direction and a huge win for small farmers in developing nations.