According to recent U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, billions of individuals across the globe benefit from two of the largest USDA foreign aid programs.
The programs in question include the Food for Progress Program and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (IFEP). Both programs are major facets of longstanding USDA goals to use agricultural production and agricultural aid to help stabilize governments in the developing world and encourage the spread of democracy.
The Food for Progress Program, for example, donates American commodity crops to counties dedicated to expanding free markets and embracing democratic political reform. The donated crops are sold at local markets with proceeds going to aid in agricultural development projects. The ultimate goal of Food for Progress is to expand agricultural production and trade while strengthening free markets and political reform.
The IFEP is a more traditional food aid program where American commodity crops, as well as monetary and technical aid, are donated to help feed schoolchildren in foreign countries. Rather than depend on free market reform, the IFEP is designed to feed hungry children across the developing world regardless of politics.
Both programs are designed to combat both hunger and political instability. Food insecurity, in addition to causing humanitarian crises, can trigger food riots and even revolutions. Food shortages in Egypt led to food riots, which in turn helped fuel the revolution that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, making combating hunger a major part of protecting U.S. interests overseas.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer