Food for Peace Title II

FY2017 Funding Recommendation:  
$1.75 billion

 

Funding History

       Enacted   

       President's FY2017 Request   

       InterAction's FY2017 Recommendation


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Justification

 Key Facts

  • Since Food for Peace Title II began in 1954, approximately 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefited from U.S. food aid.

  • 50 million children under age 5 worldwide are wasted (too thin) and 159 million children under age 5 worldwide are stunted (too short).

  • Reform proposals that allow greater flexibility to use both cash and commodity assistance would allow the U.S. to reach an additional 2-4 million people at no additional cost to taxpayers.

In 2014, Food for Peace Title II (FFP) made an enormous difference in the lives of nearly 46 million people experiencing deep, acute, or chronic poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition.  However, 795 million people around the world are still hungry, and millions more will have emergency needs because of drought or conflict. Maintaining robust funding for FFP and finding ways to stretch that funding further is imperative.

The Title II food assistance program is the largest U.S. government food aid program, and is the foundation of efforts to confront global hunger and malnutrition and bring stability to situations that can threaten our national security. It includes emergency programs that keep people alive through natural disasters, conflict, and food security crises. It also includes nonemergency developmental programs that address the underlying sources of chronic hunger through multiyear investments in nutrition, agricultural productivity, and diversification of household incomes.

InterAction estimates the overall need-based requirements for U.S. emergency food assistance to be at least $2.2 billion annually. This reflects both the U.S. share of the projected $6.5 billion 2017 annual global multilateral emergency relief and recovery needs, as compiled by the United Nations World Food Programme, plus an estimate of the emergency food aid the U.S. currently provides bilaterally through U.S. NGOs. With ongoing cyclical weather patterns impacting regions all over the world and protracted crises in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq, global needs in 2017 will increase above current projections if there are any new unanticipated large emergency food crises occurring in 2016 and 2017.  As required per the Farm Bill, at least $350 million will be needed to continue ongoing and planned development food aid programs that in many cases are working to reduce current and future emergency food assistance needs. Additional funding for these programs will help vulnerable communities better feed themselves and become more resilient to future shocks

Given the current climate, a request of $1.75 billion for FY2017 Food for Peace Title II (FFP) is based on the following calculations:

  • FFP programs are the largest source of U.S. government support for global food emergencies. To ensure FFP can meet its share of current global humanitarian response food assistance needs, FFP emergency programs should receive at least $1.3 billion in FY2017.

  • In order for FFP to continue to address chronic malnutrition, build resilience, and place vulnerable households on the path to food security, FFP non-emergency programs should receive at least $350 million in FY2017.

  • Recognizing the important step forward in Food for Peace funding made in the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provided an additional $250 million to Food for Peace over the FY2015 level, and the direction by appropriators that this increase shall be used for both emergency and nonemergency purposes, we recommend that $25 million or more above the minimum baselines for emergency and non-emergency programs be provided in FY2017.

  • Despite rising demands for global food assistance, shipping costs for FFP have also dramatically increased due to the elimination of cargo preference reimbursements, worth $75 million, in the 2013 Congressional budget deal. The reimbursements were originally set up to partially offset the costs of cargo preference requirements so that they would not fall entirely on the backs of the world’s poor and hungry. In addition to this loss, the above global emergency needs assessments do not include the additional costs of cargo preference that has in previous years been offset by the reimbursements to FFP. We strongly urge that FFP be compensated for the loss of these reimbursements, which will help ensure that U.S. food assistance to some 2 million people is restored.

Supporting FFP at $1.75 billion would allow the U.S. to reach over 47 million people with lifesaving food aid and maintain its global leadership.

We also look forward to working with Congress to further build momentum for food aid reform which has been included in the President’s budget request since FY2014. The best way forward is to increase flexibility to use the right tool or mix of tools for any given hunger crisis – including cash and food vouchers, local regional procurement, and U.S. agriculture commodities – consistent with an appropriate balance between emergency and nonemergency programs. This would allow the program to reach more food insecure people with the agility needed to address today’s complex crises. We also urge Congress to reduce the remaining “monetization” requirement applied to FFP’s effective nonemergency, resilience-building development programs. We will continue to support additional efforts to modernize U.S. Title II food assistance, enabling resources to reach more of the world’s hungry people.

Success Story

Improving Food Security in Niger

“When your baby is sick, you have to take him to the clinic,” Nana explains. “If the doctor gives you advice about what medicine to give your baby, you have to follow the directions. But it is also important to keep giving the baby good food — fruit and vegetables with vitamins.”  The lesson may seem simple, but in this remote area of Niger, it’s uncommon. Child malnutrition and illness rates here are some of the highest in the country, due to traditional cultural beliefs, limited resources and a critical lack of education for women.

Nana Balki Abdou, 28, is working to change that, thanks to a five-year Development Food Aid program (DFAP) called Sawki and implemented by Mercy Corps in partnership with Helen Keller International. A ‘non-emergency, Title II’ program, Sawki - which means ‘improvement’ in Hausa, the local language - is responding to the food security needs of more than 92,000 beneficiaries in two of the most food insecure regions of Niger. Additionally, Sawki has a special emphasis on empowering women and adolescent girls.  One component of this gendered approach is training for mothers like Nana on proper infant care and nutrition, with over 3,200 men and women trained in child health and nutrition to date.

Another of Sawki’s goals is to increase undernourished families access to healthy food. Through the establishment of family gardens and diversifying agricultural productivity, families are increasing their access to healthy food.  Since FY2013, the number of families growing nutritious foods in their gardens has increased from 35% to 95%, while nearly 23,000 people (mostly pregnant and lactating women) were trained on how to prepare nutritious meals with locally available foods. Village chiefs and community leaders support the program’s activities, which ensure broad participation and long-term change.

And that change is already happening: results from an independent mid-term evaluation showed that girls participating in “safe spaces” have more knowledge in health and nutrition than those who have not participated.  Additionally, women reported anecdotally that fewer children are being referred to health centers, while 95 percent of the interviewed farmers mentioned an increase in food production as a result of technologies learned from Sawki run farmers’ field school.

“The big garden that Mercy Corps helped us start is giving us hope. There are a lot of different kinds of food in the garden that will help us feed our babies better,” Nana says. “We have more resources and knowledge to fight against hunger now.

One of the other biggest changes that Nana has seen is the increased awareness that breastfeeding is best for infants. “One of the most important lessons I teach is about how to feed the baby with mother’s milk. It’s very rich and also gives the baby water, so there’s no need to give water instead,” she explains.

Though major results are evident even after one year, Nana knows the real work is just beginning.

“All of these women are intelligent, and they remember what they learned. Our babies are stronger and healthier,” she says. There is no greater benefit than learning how to take care of our babies’ nutrition and health. The knowledge is in our village and will spread to even more people in other areas. This will help us for many, many years to come.”

Photo: Sean Sheridan

 

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