U.S. relief organisations have traditionally received surplus food free of charge from the Department of?
U.S. relief organisations have traditionally received surplus food free of charge from the Department of Agriculture (USDA). But because of the large-scale sale of grain overseas, the supplies of free food to the agencies is drying up.
One such agency, CARE, operates in 34 countries around the world. In its advertisements, CARE used to tell readers that (BOP) $2 contribution would provide 600 children with a bowl of porridge and $10 (approx GBP 4) would provide a nutritious meal for 900 children. CARE was able to do this because of the supply of free surplus foods.
Another organisation, the World Relief Committee, has been using food to pay villagers for community projects. They have received a good deal of surplus food, and without it, they face an additional bill for $2m (GBP 800,000) a year.
Not all the charities operate outside the United States. The Salvation Army which run centres throughout the country, says they will have to cut back to the extent of 12 million meals a year. This will affect programmes in day-care centres, summer camps and programmes for the elderly.
According to the Senate Nutrition Committee in Washington, the United States government gave 127 million pounds weight (57.6 million kilograms) of food to charitable agencies in 1972. Now there is talk among USDA officials about their surplus commodities programme being phased out by the end of 1975.
SYNOPSIS: World grain production is the highest it has ever been, but so is demand. In the United States, overseas buyers have been more than keen to take the domestic surplus.
The Soviet Union has, in the last couple of years, been one of the United States' best customers. But the demand for wheat has left very little for the United States relief agencies. The Department of Agriculture formerly gave surplus grain to these agencies. They would then distribute the food to the needy around the world, either free, or in exchange for work on self improvement projects. The agencies now face rising costs and the end to this free food.
The Department of Agriculture donated one hundred and twenty seven million pounds weight of food to the agencies in 1972. Now Department officials are talking about ending the programme by 1976.
Not all the surplus food leaves the United States. There are several million Americans who live in poverty conditions, and several domestic charities, including the Salvation Army, will be hit by the government cut-back.
The Salvation Army says it will have to take drastic measures, like cutting down the number of free meals by twelve million a year, which will affect many of their programmes. The cut-back has come at a time when international organisations have been appealing for increased aid to avert famines.