The official estimates that $500 million in savings, predominantly from the reduction in the amount of shipping costs. The official noted that 3-4 million additional people can be serviced with the change in the emergency food aid and 800,000 more families with the change in how development food aid is administered.
"At this time of shrinking budgets and increasing global need, this is an important opportunity to truly be able to do more within the budget constraints," the official said. This will allow the U.S. to continue its global commitment to food aid and be the world's leader in providing a helping hand and doing so with greater effectiveness and efficiency, she added.
Many agricultural groups had feared the administration would also change or eliminate the Food for Progress program, however, the President did not make changes. Food for Progress is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service. The main source of funds is the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation, which is authorized to provide commodities and up to $40 million each fiscal year to ship those commodities overseas.
The President's budget chose not to change the Food for Progress program.
Agriculture groups remain opposed to the change of purchasing U.S. commodities. In recent weeks ag groups along with other involved parties sent a letter to the president explaining the importance of the Food for Peace and Food for Progress programs.
"Growing, manufacturing, bagging, shipping, and transporting nutritious U.S. food creates jobs and economic activity here at home, provides support for our U.S. Merchant Marine, essential to our national defense sealift capability, and sustains a robust domestic constituency for these programs not easily replicated in alternative foreign aid programs," the letter stated.
InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs, explained in order to reach more hungry people, food assistance programs must allow for more flexible use of tools such as cash transfers, food vouchers and the local procurement of goods alongside provision of U.S. commodities and direct program funding.