The Local and Regional Procurement (LRP) program enables the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to procure local and regional commodities for field-based projects. It complements existing food aid programs, fills in the nutritional and food aid gaps created by unexpected emergencies, and stimulates local markets by supporting livelihoods. LRP runs in conjunction with McGovern-Dole International Food for Education programs.
What does it buy?
Funds support need-based programming that leverages resources, skills, and partnerships with local farmers to supplement and enhance school meals with nutrition-rich products such as beans, groundnuts, and sweet potatoes.
Why is it important?
LRP is a small program with a significant impact. In F.Y. 2019, the USDA awarded $15 million in LRP grant funds, which combined are expected to reach approximately 106,000 school-age children in Burkina Faso, Cambodia, and Nicaragua.
LRP quickly delivers food and nutrition assistance. A GAO report found that shipping food from the United States to sub-Saharan Africa took 100 days longer than procuring food from local or regional sources.
LRP is efficient. A USDA LRP pilot program found that buying grains in or near the country to which the U.S. donates food aid saved 53% relative to purchasing U.S.-sourced grains and saved 25% in the case of other foods, such as beans.
A recent LRP project in Mozambique locally procured beans, groundnuts, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, and salt from local markets, generating over $250,000 and pulling these funds back into the local economy.
The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized the USDA’s LRP program at $80 million annually until 2023, and up to 10% of McGovernDole funds to be used to purchase food in the country or region where it will be distributed.
The procurement of food from local markets stimulates local economies by increasing farmers’ incomes and creating jobs in the community.
Why should Americans care?
LRP reduces the need for U.S. foreign assistance. Local programs that purchase food from smallholder farmers to use in school feeding programs generate income for farmers while contributing to children’s education.
Market conditions have been affected by COVID-19, including local and regional food systems, highlighting a need for increased future investments. Implementing partners have had to adapt and support producers and local markets to remain safely open.
What more could be done?
Additional investment would allow LRP programs to complement further existing food aid programs—especially the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program—and fill in nutritional gaps for targeted populations or food availability gaps created by unexpected emergencies.
Funding levels may not accurately reflect those in the appropriations bills and/or reports due to rounding.