A humanitarian organization that works to fight global poverty recently announced that it is rejecting over 45 million dollars in US funds.
CARE explained their decision to completely stop accepting food aid from the United States by 2009 with the reasoning that the program is inefficient and damaging the work they strive to achieve.
The organization had received such aid in the past through a Federal Program in which the government buys subsidized crops from American farmers and sends them abroad to charity groups. NGO’s then sell the crops on the local market and use the profit for their programs to help the poor.
Subsidized food enters the African markets cheaper than the local products. Farmers that have been assisted by CARE through agricultural education programs are then injured by the funds that taught them. Local farmers cannot survive when American grain sells for a cheaper price than theirs, thus they become less self-sufficient.
Monetized food aid is no longer practiced by other countries than the U.S. In fact, the European Union criticizes U.S. food policy under the logic that if the country replaced food with cash, the poor countries could get aid more quickly and the American government would save an estimated 33$million in shipping costs alone.
CARE’s decision, although made earlier, was publicized at a strategic time. The U.S. Farm bill is evaluated every two years, 2007 being a year to accept new proposals. Previous Administrations have brought the idea of switching to cash aid to the table, but it has been refused by those who support excessive farming.
More on this issue to be found on the site www.care.org