This is a joint post with Erin Collinson.
CGD Policy Blogs
The Bali package included agreements to facilitate trade by modernizing customs procedures and to ensure that minimum access for agricultural imports subject to quotas is achieved in practice. On food security, there was, at the end, a resolution of the dispute over a “peace clause” that will allow India to shield its food stockholding program from trade challenges for at least four years.
FATAA and the Typhoon – Could the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act Help the US Help the Philippines Better?
Money is pouring into the Philippines in the wake of the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). But, to state the blatantly obvious, it’s not just the amount of assistance that matters, it’s how it’s spent. But here’s a question: will anyone actually be able to identify how that assistance is spent?
Might the costly US mandate for adding corn ethanol to gasoline finally be ripe for reform? Late last week, Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA), both members of the House Agriculture Committee, joined with 167 other members from both parties to send a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for adjustments to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates.
My guest on this week’s Global Prosperity Wonkcast is CGD senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, here to speak to us about the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The FAO is the leading global institution dedicated to raising agricultural productivity, but a new report from CGD says that the FAO, despite its respected status as the premier global food agency, risks squandering its potential when demand for food is rapidly rising and supplies are threatened.
Rising commodity prices and tight government budgets are adding to pressures to reduce subsidies for energy and agriculture in many countries. Two new reports, including my recent paper on agricultural and biofuel subsidies, provide fodder for this debate by documenting the extent of subsidies in these sectors and analyzing their negative effects, particularly for developing countries and the poor.
The Royce-Engel amendment to reform US food aid failed 203-220 in the House this week, as did the farm bill to which it was attached. The food aid amendment would have relaxed requirements that the United States buy American commodities and ship them on US ships. It's painful to see a smart foreign aid reform that would save lives and taxpayer money suffer a narrow defeat.
There are many, many problems with the House farm bill being debated this week but there are two amendments that would make significant improvements. The first (#55 in this list) is a version of the Royce-Bass Food Aid Reform Act that would provide authorization to untie up to 45 percent of the emergency food aid budget and allow the US Agency for International Development to provide assistance in whatever form—food purchased in the US or locally, vouchers, or cash transfers—would help the most people the quickest.
The Obama administration’s FY14 budget request included a food aid reform proposal that the administration estimated would allow US food aid to reach an addition 2-4 million people per year—for roughly what the United States spends now. My colleagues Kim Elliott and Will McKitterick have a new brief out that argues this is a conservative estimate. Their calculations suggest that the reforms would help at least 4 million more people, and maybe as many as 10 million for the same amount of money as under the current inefficient system.
Owen Barder is sceptical about a proposed new public-private partnership to tackle hunger.