Friday, November 30, 2012

US Food Aid and a Simple Argument for Local Procurement

Few months before the 2012 presidential election, political pundits were surprised by the high level bipartisan support reflected in the Senate version of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, or the Farm Bill as it’s commonly known. Even though the House quickly followed with its own version, political calculations prevented the bill to be brought to the floor.

Thanks to the reelection of President Obama, there is a renewed effort to conclude and make into law a final version of the 2012 Farm Bill before end of the year. The current House and the Senate versions of the Farm Bill, however, present drastically contrasting approaches to Food Aid. While the House seeks to maintain the policy of sending American in-kind food to developing countries, the Senate has put forward a mechanism to procure food closer to where it’s needed – the Local and Regional Procurement Program (LRP).

With a political mandate to address the country’s fiscal realities and increase government program effectiveness, policymakers of both parties can find in the LRP the unique opportunity to simultaneously save tax-payers’ dollars and make food aid more effective.  

For more info, check out the infographic below and a new report published by Oxfam and AJWS. Also, don't miss the good research from GAO and the Cornell folks 

Monday, November 12, 2012

UN Secretary General’s Zero Hunger Challenge:

100% access to adequate food all year round

Enabling all people to access the food they need at all times through nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, marketing, decent and productive employment, a social protection floor, targeted safety nets and food assistance; boosting food supply from local producers;
through open, fair and well-functioning markets and trade policies at local, regional and international level, preventing excessive food price volatility.

Zero stunted children less than 2 years

Ensuring universal access to nutritious food in the 1000-day window of opportunity between the start of pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, supported by nutrition-sensitive health care, water, sanitation, education and specific nutrition interventions, coupled with initiatives that enable empowerment of women, as encouraged within the Movement for Scaling Up Nutrition.

All food systems are sustainable

Ensuring that all farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, governments, unions and civil society establish standards for sustainability; verifying their observance and being accountable for them; encouraging and rewarding universal adoption of sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture practices; pursuing cross-sectoral policy coherence (encompassing energy, land use, water and climate); implementing responsible governance of land, fisheries and forests.

100% increase in smallholder productivity and income

Reducing rural poverty and improving wellbeing through encouraging decent work, and increasing smallholders’ income; empowering women, small farmers, fishers, pastoralists, young people, farmer organizations, indigenous people and their communities; supporting agricultural
research and innovation; improving land tenure, access to assets and to natural resources, making sure that all investments in agriculture and value chains are responsible and accountable; developing multidimensional indicators for people’s resilience and wellbeing.

Zero loss or waste of food

Minimizing food losses during storage and transport, and waste of food by retailers and consumers; empowering consumer choice through appropriate labeling; commitments by producers, retailers and consumers within all nations; achieving progress through financial incentives, collective pledges, locally-relevant technologies and changed behavior.