From USA TODAY
Hunger pains: U.S. food program struggles to move forward
After more than 60 years of feeding the world’s hungry overseas, the U.S. Agency for International Development is scrambling to overhaul the world’s largest government food assistance program. The U.S. spends more than half of its international food aid budget transporting life-saving commodities through a tangled system of special interests and government bureaucracy – more than $9 billion in taxpayer dollars over a recent 10-year period, finds a Medill/USA TODAY investigation. Virtually every other aid-giving country and the United Nations, which helps coordinate them, use a flexible system in which critically needed grains, oils and other commodities are purchased as close to a crisis or famine zone as possible. When appropriate, many also give cash transfers or vouchers instead of sacks of food, saving money and precious time getting aid to the young, the elderly, the sick and families in crisis.
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