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Partnership Report: Food Aid Policy and the 2012 Farm Bill

Thinking Ahead: What’s Up with U.S. Food Aid Policy in Advance of the 2012 Farm Bill?

Stephanie Mercier

June 2011

As the 112th Congress begins to grapple with the task of reauthorizing current farm legislation before it expires at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2012, it is useful to examine the program and operational changes that have occurred in the area of humanitarian and food assistance as a result of legislative revisions enacted in the 2008 farm bill. The paper, being prepared on behalf of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, will also examine the prospects for gains in efficiency and effectiveness through better coordination of humanitarian assistance with other forms of development assistance undertaken by the U.S. government. The paper concludes by laying out a few key policy issues in these areas that might merit future consideration in preparation of the FY 2012 farm bill. With roughly $2 billion in funding provided for U.S. food assistance programs in FY 2010, and more than $1 billion provided for development assistance aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in food-deficit countries, the effectiveness of these programs remains an important priority for policymakers and all those concerned with addressing hunger and poverty in the developing world.