U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Casey (D-PA) John Boozman (R-AR) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) issued a letter this week to support international school meal programs and U.S. food assistance. In their April 17 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the senators emphasized the linkages these programs have to U.S. agricultural markets and trade as well as their important role in responding to worsening global food security due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The U.S. food and agricultural trading systems must remain open for business and well-functioning during this period; so too must our food aid programs,” they stated.
U.S. soy is widely used in the programs that the Senators emphasized: USDA’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development-administered Food for Peace Program. “International food assistance programs support American producers and supply food for populations around the world that are vulnerable to hunger and starvation,” stated the senators.
WISHH has trained developing country supply chain partners as well as non-governmental organizations and government staffs on the opportunities and best practices for soy use in nutritious meals. During COVID-19, WISHH continues to advise these strategic partners and support the exchange of ideas that will help them be resilient.
The senators cited new reports that global GDP growth this year is projected to drop from 3% to 1.5%. Researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute estimate that this economic slowdown could force another 20 to 30 million people into extreme poverty.
“Today, 821 million people around the world suffer from undernourishment and over 100 million are facing immediate, life-threatening hunger,” they stated. “Global food security depends on countries like ours accessing and responding to global markets—this is especially true in a crisis like the one we’re facing now. The U.S. exports about $140 billion worth of agricultural products each year. American farmers are inextricably linked by global markets and, by extension, to the wellbeing of people everywhere.”
Read the letter from the Senators HERE.