AD HOC COALITION CALLS FOR ôSUSTAINED FUNDINGö FOR TITLE I FOOD AID
An ad hoc coalition of the nation’s largest agricultural and transportation groups asked Congress to establish “sustained funding” for Title I of the Food For Peace program in fiscal year 2004.
The coalition said it has approached Congress “at a critical time when anticipated worldwide requirements for American food assistance are extremely high, and are likely to grow substantially higher in the coming weeks and months.”
Title I, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides for government-to-government sales of agricultural commodities to developing countries under long-term credit arrangements. Because of nation’s cargo preference laws, 75 percent of Title I commodities must be shipped on U.S.-flag vessels.
For fiscal year 2004, the Bush administration requested appropriations for Title I program which would support $132 million in direct loans. This represents “a significant reduction” from the amount of funding approved for Title I in fiscal 2003.
The coalition outlined the benefits of Title I food aid:
* Because Title I is a concessional loan program, appropriations required to support the program, under the terms of the 1990 Federal Credit Reform Act, cover only the subsidy cost, and not the full commodity value.
* The program promotes market development while remaining fully sanctioned by international trade organizations.
* The program is designed to operate in markets that are neither poor enough to warrant donations, nor rich enough to buy commodities on commercial terms, which means these countries could gradually become viable trading partners with the United States.
The coalition includes American Maritime Congress, American Soybean Association, Liberty Maritime Corp., Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Sunflower Association, Sealift, TECO Transport Corp., Transportation Institute, USA Rice Federation, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Wheat Associates, and Wheat Export Trade Education Committee.