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American Shipper

Industry lobbies Congress for $1.2 billion supplemental for food aid

Industry lobbies Congress for $1.2 billion supplemental for food aid

A group of 65 relief organizations, agricultural groups and ocean carriers urge Congress to approve an emergency supplemental bill that includes $859 million in fiscal year 2008 and $395 million for fiscal year 2009 to fund the country’s biggest international food aid programs.

   The P.L. 480 Title II food aid program has been tested this year by increasing food prices and a crunch of humanitarian emergencies across the globe.

   “While the reasons for increased shortages will continue to be debated, one thing is agreed: this is not just a one-year aberration and its impact will require more than a one-time increased infusion of food aid,” the groups said in letters to leaders in the House and Senate.

   “Unless the $850 million additional funding is provided in FY 2008, commodity levels for Title ii programs will be reduced 40-50 percent,” the letter warned.

   “The bridge funding for food aid in FY 2009 will make it possible to continue to meet originally planned program levels for the first several months of the fiscal year, although additional emergencies may quickly change that picture.”

   Some of the groups to sign the letter are Africare, America Cargo Transport Corp., Land O’Lakes, Maersk Line, Catholic Relief Services, National Corn Growers Association, Food for the Hungry, Liberty Maritime Corp., Kansas Wheat Commission, Global Container Lines, Sealift and North American Millers’ Association.

   Aid groups are scrambling to deliver food and other humanitarian assistance to cyclone-wrecked Myanmar. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 people died in the storm.

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