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InterAction members call on the administration and Congress to take immediate action to

address the urgent global food security crisis.

InterAction’s more than 165 member organizations work in every developing country to provide
humanitarian and development assistance. We are witnessing first-hand how this global food
crisis is impacting the poor, conflict-affected and vulnerable people that we serve all over the
world. We know from decades of field experience that when a food crisis hits the most
vulnerable people, they are forced to make the impossible choice between feeding their families
for one more day and planning for their futures. To survive, poor and vulnerable people will sell
off their limited assets, begin to eat their seed stock, and look for employment outside the
agricultural sector. All of these short-term coping strategies are likely to lead to decreasing
agricultural production in the future, further exacerbating the problems. For these reasons,
InterAction members are deeply concerned by the short- and long-term impacts of this
crisis and call for the US government’s leadership to address the root causes of global

We are witnessing broad and diverse impacts in countries across the globe due to skyrocketing
commodity prices. For example:

 In Niger, prices of basic foodstuffs have spiked, exacerbating the West African nation's
already precarious food situation. Currently about two-thirds of the population is at serious
risk of going hungry and shortages are pushing the country closer to famine.

 In Burundi, the World Food Program was forced to close its “Food for Training” program,
cutting off urgently needed food from a school feeding program that serves poor children.

 In Tajikistan, 61% percent of households are down to one warm meal a day and neighboring
Kazakhstan has suspended wheat exports, shutting off its primary supply.

 Along the Thailand-Burma border, the price hikes threaten the welfare of thousands of
refugees living in camps, who are not permitted to grow their own food and depend on aid
from international donors.

In response, the UN World Food Program (WFP) announced that it will need at least an
additional $755 million just to continue current emergency feeding programs this year. While
emergency measures are an important and necessary step to address urgent needs, this food crisis
will not be resolved by emergency food aid programs alone. The World Bank has estimated
continued high food prices at least through the end of 2009, and no significant decreases through
2015. This means that effective solutions depend upon a combination of:
1) emergency food aid,
2) emergency investments in the current crop cycles to boost short-term production,
3) long-term investments to increase agricultural productivity and strengthen farm livelihoods,
4) a significant recasting of the US approach to global hunger through a comprehensive
long-term strategy to address the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

In response to the WFP appeal, the US, which provides about half of the world’s food assistance,
pledged $200 million in emergency food aid from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust fund. In
addition, President Bush announced a request to Congress for an additional $770 million to
address this crisis. While we appreciate the US commitment to meeting emergency needs, we
remain concerned that this is woefully insufficient given the overwhelming scale and ongoing
volatility of the emergency.

The Administration request aims to supplement the regular fiscal year 2009 budget – meaning
that these funds might not be available until October 1, 2008. In this case, funding is needed as
soon as possible. Further, the administration’s request does not cover the full increase in costs
being incurred due to skyrocketing prices and provides only minimum investments in increasing
long-term agricultural productivity.


We urgently call upon the administration and Congress to:

 Substantially increase funding for international food, agricultural and disaster
assistance in the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill so that resources are available
before the beginning of fiscal year 2009. We commend the administration for looking at
short and long-term strategies to address this emergency, but this rapidly evolving crisis
requires an immediate response to mitigate the impact sooner rather than later. Therefore, we
urge that resources for these accounts be made available immediately through the upcoming

- $995 million for PL 480 Title II food aid programs is needed to cover the recent
commodity increases and existing humanitarian needs at current capacities, and allow
flexibility to prepare for the rapidly-changing needs in the field.

- $650 million in the Development Assistance (DA) account is required to make
emergency investments to ensure that poor farmers have access to fertilizer, seeds and
other inputs required to increase short- and long-term agricultural productivity. Over the
past several years, US funding to support agricultural development has declined steadily
from a high of $589 million in 2005 to just $283 million in 2008

- At least $300 million is necessary to address the impacts of the food crisis alone
through the International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account.
- $100 million is needed to jump-start replenishment of the depleted Bill Emerson
Humanitarian Trust. While over $469 million has been drawn down from the Trust
since 2002, it has not been replenished since then. This amount would be the first step in
the incremental replenishment of this critical reserve, which serves as a quick response
mechanism for emergency needs such as the present crisis.

- An additional $50 million in the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance
(ERMA) account would provide critical cash support to WFP operations for refugee and
internally displaced persons (IDP) in order to avert food pipeline breaks to these
vulnerable groups.

- Additional funding is required to ensure that the Food for Progress and McGovern-
Dole International Food for Education programs operating under the Agriculture
Department (USDA) can continue at current levels despite increased costs.

 Allow cash for local purchase to be used to address the crisis where appropriate and ensure
that private voluntary organizations can participate. Local regional purchase can be a tool in
saving lives, time, livelihoods and money by reducing administrative and logistical costs
which could be used instead to stimulate local production and trade.

The global food crisis is pushing millions of people deeper into poverty and desperation,
while their governments are faced with increasing civil unrest. We, the undersigned, call
for the US government’s strong leadership to address this crisis immediately.


2. Catholic Relief Services

3. Save the Children
4. World Vision

5. Mercy Corps

6. International Rescue Committee

7. Africare

8. American Jewish World Service

9. American Refugee Committee
10. Bread for the World

11. Christian Children’s Fund

12. Congressional Hunger Center

13. Friends of the World Food Program

14. International Medical Corps

15. Church World Service
16. Results

17. United Methodist Committee on Relief

18. Winrock International