A bipartisan group of senators, led by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is pushing the Obama Administration to renew "America's commitment to food assistance and fostering sustainable agricultural and economic development in less-developed countries," according to a media statement. The lawmakers say they want the president to carry out parts of the 2008 Farm Bill that improve and reform the Food for Peace program and encouraged the president to propose adding funding for the program in his detailed 2010 budget.
The group points out that at the end of 2008, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated there were 963 million hungry people in the world, compared to 800 million at the World Food Summit in 1996.
"Food for Peace is a crucial tool in fulfilling our nation’s commitment to foreign assistance and global food security," said Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. "Even in the face of monumental challenges at home and abroad, we must remember those whose lives were already plagued by persistent poverty, hunger, and disease."
The letter asks the president to implement the reforms contained in the current farm bill. And to fully fund the $2.5 billion authorized for Food for Peace in the farm bill for the coming program year.