8 April 2009
Moves by the United States to provide more cash instead of commodities to fight a growing world food crisis are welcomed, but more is needed, a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) official said on Tuesday. "Just because food prices have come down doesn't mean the crisis is over," said Allan Jury, WFP director of U.S. relations. [...] A new four-year, $60-million pilot program for just such local and regional purchases is getting under way with funding from the 2008 Farm Bill. And the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is spending about $145 million for local procurement projects to bring aid to people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Nepal and elsewhere, said Dirk Dijkerman, an assistant administrator with USAID. The moves are "a start in the right direction," but more is needed, Jury said. "Most of the donors give us cash. The U.S. is one of the last that gives us any kind of commodities. We would very much welcome if the U.S. was able to join the flexibility of other donors," he said.
New York Times / Reuters