In a recent editorial, the New York Times says that President Obama’s budget proposal to redirect some U.S. food aid funds to “buy food in bulk in countries in need or to provide individual recipients with vouchers or debit cards for local food purchases” rather than purchase the food in the U.S. and ship it overseas may be unpopular with domestic food producers, but it “will feed more people for the same amount the United States spends now.” The Times says “there is no excuse” for not enacting the change.
In another piece, “Proposal for Changes in Food Aid Sets Off Infighting in Congress,” the New York Times reports that the proposal ”has set off a jurisdictional fight among” lawmakers, “threatening to derail the most significant change to the program since it was created nearly 60 years ago.” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah says, “This new reform would give us the flexible tools we need to get food to people who need it now, not weeks later,” adding that “we would still buy from U.S. farmers. But this way we can help feed two to four million more people without additional costs.”
LAUNCH, a series of forums to identify, showcase and support innovative approaches to global challenges, was recognized by Harvard’s Ash Center as a Top 25 Innovations in Government. Washington Post reported that “among the projects that made the cut is a public-private collaboration between NASA, USAID, the State Department and sportswear company Nike called Launch. The project, through a series of forums and networks, seeks to surface and accelerate the development of strong, innovative ideas.”
The Financial reports, “USAID announced the release of exciting new datasets and tools that increase transparency and provide the fuel for innovators and decision makers to solve problems.” The conference, “convened countries from the G-8 and New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to discuss the potential of open data for agriculture and develop action plans to open and apply food security relevant datasets. To demonstrate the power of open data to deliver solutions, the conference also featured technologists and entrepreneurs who use USAID and U.S Government data to develop products to bring real solutions to the developing world.”