Wall Street Journal Publishes Food for Peace Retort

Responding to my piece last week – in tomorrow’s Letters to the Editor in the Wall Street Journal

Food for Peace is an international aid program that has been successful domestically and abroad since its inception in 1954 (“How ‘Food for Peace’ Hurts Foreign Farmers” by James Bovard, op-ed, April 30). It has fed the world’s hungry, helped U.S. farmers manage crop surpluses and promoted a peaceful and humanitarian foreign policy.

Over the years though, Food for Peace has stagnated at the Agriculture Department and has become inefficient in responding to global hunger. President Obama wants to transfer the program to the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Congress should approve it.

I know firsthand that the global community sees our nation as foolish and uncaring when we fail to respond or respond too late to international hunger caused by natural disasters, disruptions in foreign food-marketing channels and political corruption resulting in food insecurity and leading to political instability.

It is high time the program be modernized to lower its administrative and operating costs and to take advantage of other more economical international agricultural and transportation resources to more quickly respond to global needs. Such an approach will also lessen the economic damage the program has caused Third World farmers and encourage more participation in food production in those countries.

Policy makers and diplomats should find ways to leverage food aid into sounder foreign policies with foreign stakeholders who can be trusted to administer the aid fairly and promote policies that are in the best interest of their nations.

James Patterson

Member, American Foreign Service Association

San Francisco



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