Food for Peace Title II

FY2018 Funding Recommendation:  
$1.875 billion

 

Funding History

       Enacted   

       House/Senate FY2017 Request 

       InterAction's FY2018 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.

  • Fifty million children under age 5 worldwide are wasted (too thin) and 156 million children under age 5 worldwide are stunted (too short).

  • Past administration 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, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace reached 48.8 million people, and Title II (FFP) funds made an enormous difference in the lives of over 32 million people experiencing deep, acute, or chronic poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition. However, approximately 793 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 a foundational element 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.

With ongoing cyclical weather patterns impacting regions all over the world and protracted crises in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq, among other places, global needs in 2018 will increase above current projections if there any new unanticipated large emergency food crises occur in 2017 and 2018. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) currently estimates that 70 million people across 45 countries will require emergency food assistance in 2017. This high level of projected need is driven in part by the possibility of famine in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and northern Nigeria in 2017. The threat of famine has not been so widespread in decades.

InterAction estimates the overall need-based requirements for U.S. emergency food assistance to be at least $2.5 billion annually. This reflects both the U.S. contribution to the projected $8.1 billion 2018 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. As required per the Farm Bill, at least $350 million of FFP funding 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.

The recommended $1.875 billion for FY2018 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, including in instances of possible Famine, FFP emergency programs should receive at least $1.45 billion in FY2018.
  • In order for FFP to continue to address chronic malnutrition, build resilience, and place vulnerable households on the path to food security, FFP nonemergency programs should receive at least $350 million in FY2018.
  • Despite rising demands for global food assistance, shipping costs for FFP have also dramatically increased due to the elimination of cargo preference reimbursements 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 global emergency needs assessments discussed above do not include the additional costs of cargo preference that has in previous years been offset by the reimbursements to FFP. InterAction strongly urges 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 $1.875 billion would allow the U.S. to reach over 50 million people with lifesaving food aid and maintain its global leadership.

InterAction also looks forward to working with Congress to further build momentum for improving U.S. international food assistance programs. The best way forward is to use an all tools on deck approach that allows a tailored response 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. InterAction also urges Congress to end the requirement for “monetization” applied to FFP’s nonemergency, resilience-building development programs in order to reach more people with the appropriate tool. InterAction 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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