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Rethinking U.S. Food Aid Policy and Resource Rights

September 2005

Current U.S. food aid policy makes responding to wide-spread hunger like the current conditions in Niger an opportunity for the U.S. agricultural industry to gain new markets.

A recent study by a Grassroots International Resource Rights Advisor, Kathleen McAfee, and Sophia Murphy of the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy (IATP), shows two distinct changes to the way U.S. food aid operates that could focus aid on saving lives rather than boosting sales for the U.S. agricultural industry.

They are: 1) provide cash, not U.S. produced food, to the U.N. World Food Programme and 2) support the World Food Programme’?s effort to buy food from regions adjacent to affected areas by not inundating local markets with U.S. food sales.

Underlying the study is the need to recognize regional and local food sovereignty–the right for communities? to decide the parameters of their food system. Our Resource Rights for All initiative is working with the Via Campesina to make this concept a reality for the millions of family farmers around the world.

Click here to read Sophia Murphy’s commentary (which ran in the New York Times) about the study’?s findings and how they could improve the situation in Niger and the many other hunger stricken regions of the world.

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