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CARE Rejects $180M A Yr US Food Aid

From those defenders of the poor at the New York Times:


CARE Turns Down Federal Funds for Food Aid

By CELIA W. DUGGER

Published: August 16, 2007

MALELA, Kenya — CARE, one of the world’s biggest charities, is walking away from some $45 million a year in federal financing, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but also may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.

CARE’s decision is focused on the practice of selling tons of often heavily subsidized American farm products in African countries that in some cases, it says, compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.

The charity says it will phase out its use of the practice by 2009. But it has already deeply divided the world of food aid and has spurred growing criticism of the practice as Congress considers a new farm bill.

“If someone wants to help you, they shouldn’t do it by destroying the very thing that they’re trying to promote,” said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

Under the system, the United States government buys the goods from American agribusinesses, ships them overseas, mostly on American-flagged carriers, and then donates them to the aid groups as an indirect form of financing. The groups sell the products on the market in poor countries and use the money to finance their antipoverty programs. It amounts to about $180 million a year.

Neither the Bush administration nor members of Congress are looking to undo the practice, which has gone on for more than a decade. In fact, some of the nonprofit groups say it has worked well and are pressing for sharp increases in the amount of American food shipped for sale and distribution to support development programs.

The Christian charity World Vision and 14 other groups, which call themselves the Alliance for Food Aid, say that CARE is mistaken; they say the system works because it keeps hard currency in poor countries, can help prevent food price spikes in those countries and does not hurt their farmers. Not least, they argue, it also pays for their antipoverty programs.

But some people active in trying to help Africa’s farmers are critical of the practice. Former President Jimmy Carter, whose Atlanta-based Carter Center uses private money to help African farmers be more productive, said in an interview that it was a flawed system that had survived partly because the charities that received money from it defended it.

Agribusiness and shipping interest groups have tremendous political influence, but charitable groups are influential, too, Mr. Carter said, because “they speak from the standpoint of angels.” …

Does this program give CARE $45 million a year or $180 million? The article can’t seem to make up its mind.

Still, if Jimmy Carter is against it, it must be good.

How many millions of taxpayer dollars in peanut subsidies has that goober managed to score over the years?

And since when have liberals ever wanted their wards to become self-sufficient?

Only since it presents an opportunity to hurt the US, one suspects.

Former President Jimmy Carter, whose Atlanta-based Carter Center uses private money to help African farmers be more productive…

No, Mr. Carter prefers such aid to Africa to go through his operation so he can get his cut. 

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 16th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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