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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 17, 2008 at 3:59 PM

World food aid

Another thing to fix

Thank you for including the story “Food aid to help poor farmers, too” in the Nov. 11 edition of The Seattle Times. It fleshed out the scanty information that I had on the problems with food-aid delivery to needy people around the world.

I knew that American food aid was required to be produced by American farmers and transported by American companies. I was surprised to learn that European countries gave all their food aid in cash. This assures that food can be purchased locally in the distressed nation or nearby, saving fuel costs and helping the local farmers as well as the hungry population.

The story noted that Canada allows one half of its food aid to be purchased in the local country or area. I was pleased to read that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is also helping the United Nations World Food Program connect food aid with producers in distressed areas.

The U.S. needs to overhaul its farm policy to allow food aid to be purchased locally.

— Patricia Palagi, Seattle

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