WASHINGTON (March 24, 2022) – In a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack and Administrator Samantha Power on Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia, Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson of Pennsylvania, and 36 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives requested that resources available in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT), be used to help address ongoing humanitarian food crises.
The letter, in part, read as follows:
“We write to urge you to leverage the resources available in the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust (BEHT), an emergency international food aid program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Administration for International Development (USAID), to help address ongoing humanitarian food crises. The deteriorating state of global food security and the ongoing pressures on availability of commodity food assistance resources warrant the dispersion of those funds.
Over the past year we have seen the emergency food and nutrition needs of hungry citizens around the world intensify, resulting from events such as the COVID-19 Pandemic, conflicts, and natural disasters. The USDA estimates that around 1.2 billion people were food insecure in 2021, a 32 percent increase from 2020, and recent trends indicate that the number is on the rise. In countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, we have seen a dire need for food assistance.
The immediate need for aid, particularly commodities, will likely increase in light of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is a large producer of wheat and grain, and if production levels drop it is likely that we will see corresponding pressure in the global grain markets. This may be compounded by further shocks to global grain, energy, and fertilizer supply, as Russia is rightfully sanctioned for its actions.”
A copy of the full letter is available here.