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 Home > News & Policies > April 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 14, 2008

Statement by the Press Secretary

Today the President directed the Secretary of Agriculture to draw down on the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to meet emergency food aid needs abroad. With this action, an estimated $200 million in emergency food aid will be made available through the U.S. Agency for International Development. This additional food aid will address the impact of rising commodity prices on U.S. emergency food aid programs, and be used to meet unanticipated food aid needs in Africa and elsewhere.

The United States is the world's largest provider of food aid and provided more than $2.1 billion of food aid for 2.5 million metric tons of commodities to 78 developing countries in fiscal year (FY) 2007.

We are also the world's largest provider of emergency food assistance delivering 1.5 million metric tons of emergency food aid valued at $1.2 billion to 30 countries in FY 2007. U.S. emergency food assistance helped almost 23 million people.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has sought to invest in agricultural production in developing countries as a major strategy for increased food availability. Working through local institutions and partners USAID has introduced new policy and technology-adapting capabilities to address near and longer terms issues.

The President has repeatedly asked Congress to support an innovative proposal to provide food assistance by purchasing crops directly from farmers in the developing world. This flexibility would not only get food to people in emergency situations faster, it would also build up local agriculture and help break the cycle of famine.