There might be big changes coming to the United States food aid program this year, and it could save millions of lives.
U.S. food aid, which began in the 1950s, spends an average of $2 billion a year* and has done much to prevent hunger and starvation across the globe. However, it has also been criticized for being inefficient, wasteful, and even self-serving.
Currently, up to 75 percent of the money we spend on food aid has to be used to pay for purchasing food from American farmers and shipping them overseas. This food saves lives, yes, but up to 16 percent of the money is spent on shipping. To make matters worse, American commodity crops are often significantly more expensive than food bought elsewhere.
Without such high requirements for American commodities, more money could go to buying food and saving lives. In fact, the United States is the only donor country to mandate by law that a certain amount of its donations must support its own economy.