Take Action on Food Aid and Farm Bill Reform

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From Saturday’s New York Times,

Gloria Tosi, who represents most of the American ship owners
involved in the food aid system, said buying commodities abroad would
erode domestic political support for the program and lead to lower food
aid budgets from Congress. She said it was “politically naïve” to think
the food commodity groups and ship owners that have for decades
supported food aid in Congress would favor buying commodities abroad.

“None of us will be working toward that,” she said.

Well, we at the Presbyterian Hunger Program are working toward that (as is President Bush) and we need your help.

With prices of corn, wheat and soybeans soaring, the amount of food aid the U.S. government purchases is at its lowest level in a decade.

This week we continue our call for reform of Title 1 and an end to trade-distorting
subsidies
. In addition, we need to call on our Senators to improve on the Farm
Bill passed by the House. This alert highlights needed changes in US
international food aid.

Right now, all US food aid contributions are purchased
from US commodity farmers and sent by US ships. These shipments can take 4-6
months to arrive and cost 30-50% more than purchasing food locally or
regionally. Plus, the food will often depress local food prices and damage
farmers and the rural sector in the country we are trying (supposedly) to
help.  Changes in food aid are terribly important to people experiencing
food emergencies. President Bush has proposed changes in the food aid program,
recommending that one-quarter of the food aid budget be shifted from
commodities to cash for local purchase. We (yes, seriously) support this!

Take Action!

Call your Senators by October 5 at
1-800-826-3688 and ask them to support REDUCING TRADE-DISTORTING
SUBSIDIES IN TITLE 1 IN THE 2007
FARM BILL and AT LEAST A PARTIAL SHIFT FROM COMMODITIES TO CASH IN OUR
FOOD AID
PROGRAMS. Or go to http://capwiz.com/pcusa/dbq/officials/
to find out who your Senators are and how to contact them.

Tell the staff person who answers
that you are a constituent and that you want your senator to support reducing
trade-distorting subsidies in Title 1 in the 2007 Farm Bill AND at least a
partial shift from commodities to cash in our food aid programs because food
purchased locally helps hungry people faster and does not distort local markets.

We want a Farm Bill that supports farmers but does not
distort international trade AND one that would better help people who are
experiencing a food emergency.




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