As nations around the world experience rising food shortages and sharply rising prices, the United States is promoting long-term humanitarian aid now.
U.S. President George Bush asked Congress to approve seven hundred and seventy million dollars for foreign food assistance, on top of the two hundred million dollars that he announced last month. "With the new international funding I’m announcing today, we’re sending a clear message that American will lead the fight against hunger for years to come," President Bush said.
A dozen nations have seen unrest over high food prices, highlighting the difficult choices that some families must make. Global rice prices, for example, have climbed sharply due to increased demand and poor crops in some rice producing nations.
With other food security assistance programs already in place, the U.S. will spend nearly five billion dollars this year and next to combat global hunger. This funding will also allow continued support for agricultural aid programs that help farmers in developing countries increase their productivity.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while helping to meet immediate needs, an integrated approach also should be take to avert future food crises.
This would include concluding the Doha Round of world trade talks. Negotiations under way in Geneva, Switzerland, are at a critical stage, and the U.S. is working toward a breakthrough on agriculture, industrial goods and services. Winning agreement in the talks will reduce and eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers, as well as market-distorting subsidies for agricultural goods. This would encourage agricultural development, boost crop yields and reduce food prices.
The U.S. is also urging nations that have imposed restrictions on their farm exports to lift those limits, as well as asking countries to remove barriers to advance crops developed through biotechnology. These crops are safe, they’re resistant to drought and disease, and they hold the promise of producing more food for more people.