Food aid being distributed in Darfur, Sudan, earlier this year. Photo: Rebecca Dobbins/USAID

Chris Barrett (AEM), former ACSF associate director of economic development, has been studying poverty, hunger, and the best strategies for food security and economic growth in the developing world for more than two decades 

Chris Barrett: How to Get Food Aid Right

May 20, 2013

Food aid being distributed in Darfur, Sudan, earlier this year. Photo: Rebecca Dobbins/USAID

Chris Barrett (AEM), former ACSF associate director of economic development, has been studying poverty, hunger, and the best strategies for food security and economic growth in the developing world for more than two decades. In a recent article for CNN, he advocated strongly for the President’s plans to reform the United States main international food aid programs:

Chris BarrettChris Barrett, AEM

The Obama administration’s 2014 budget sensibly proposes that the federal government, for the first time, begin handling most food aid the way all of us manage our charitable contributions: give the money directly to those agencies that help the needy. It would cut red tape and let USAID more flexibly allocate $1.5 billion in scarce resources to do maximum good with minimum waste and quickly, providing food assistance in the forms that make most sense to save the greatest number of lives....

The key is the flexibility to move resources quickly and efficiently, saving more lives and giving recipients foods they typically prefer over unfamiliar commodities from a distant continent. . . . All the other major food assistance donors in the world—the Australians, Canadians, and Europeans—made these changes years ago and enthusiastically endorse their effectiveness. Virtually all of the major international charities that handle food for disaster assistance support the proposed changes. It would save money, accelerate and maybe even expand delivery of life-saving food assistance, and promote the development of market economies around the world.... The time for food aid reform is now.

Read Chris Barrett’s take on food aid reform on CNN.com.