Food for Peace is the primary tool of the U.S. when it comes to fighting global hunger. The program makes donations to countries suffering from hunger. For instance Food for Peace donations came to the aid of East Africa last year when a severe drought hit. The World Food Programme, Catholic Relief Services, and other organizations distribute the food.
The Food for Peace program, though, is only as strong as how much funding Congress allows when it makes its foreign policy budget. The funding range right now for Food for Peace is around $1.5 billion a year, whereas the annual cost of the nuclear weapons program is at least $52 billion.
Today, there clearly is a need to boost funding for Food for Peace and other aid programs given the size of the humanitarian disaster facing the globe. Increased emphasis on Food for Peace may be starting to take hold. So far this year U.S. Food for Peace donations to Yemen have increased over 2011. The most recent U.S. Food for Peace donations, totaling $47 million, will help feed Yemenis displaced by the ongoing conflict.
President Obama's focus needs to be on the ongoing humanitarian emergencies and also on how to prevent them from recurring. This means peace efforts to end the conflicts causing so much hunger and displacement, and food aid to reinforce the peace. The key is to build up food production in impoverished countries. Increasing the resilience of the small farmer to drought will be a key topic of discussion at the symposium, along with how governments and business leaders can work together to make this happen.