H. R. 4141
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 5, 2012
Mr. Payne (for himself, Mr. Berman, Mr. McGovern, Ms. Woolsey, Mr. Cohen, and Ms. Bass of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To direct the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to take appropriate actions to improve the nutritional quality, quality control, and cost effectiveness of United States food assistance, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
International Food Assistance
Improvement Act of 2012.
Congress finds the following:
For more than 55 years the United States, backed by the support of the American people, has been committed to providing life-saving food assistance to developing countries and vulnerable populations around the world.
As the largest donor of international food assistance, an essential tool in tackling malnutrition, the United States can lead the way in improving food aid quality to better target undernourished women and children.
The United States contributes over one-half of all food aid supplies to alleviate hunger and support development and plays an important role in responding to emergency food aid needs and ensuring global food security.
Over the past decade, increasing food prices and protracted humanitarian crises around the world have made United States food assistance even more critical and relevant. At the same time, these factors, combined with advancements in nutrition science, as well as severe and ongoing fiscal constraints, have led to an increased demand by policymakers and program implementers for new specially formulated and cost-effective products to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
While United States food assistance is effective in providing critical calories and nutrients to millions of people during short-term emergencies, the long-term impacts of these programs have also been increasingly called into question for not meeting the nutritional needs of recipient populations.
Reducing maternal and child malnutrition, especially in the critical 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2, is a key priority of United States global food security and health initiatives, including food aid.
Recent reports by the Government Accountability Office and the United States Agency for International Development recommended over 35 changes to United States food aid products and programs to improve the nutritional quality, quality control, and cost effectiveness of United States food assistance.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
even in this time of fiscal austerity, the American people support the United States Government’s historic commitment to providing life-saving food assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations;
high food prices, coupled with growing constraints on available resources for foreign assistance require the United States Government to focus on creating efficiencies, improving quality controls, and maximizing cost-effectiveness and nutritional impact of United States food assistance programs;
improving maternal and child health with supplemental nutrition products is a central objective of international food assistance programs; and
the United States has shown considerable leadership in meeting the nutrition needs of pregnant women and small children through the 1,000 Days Partnership to support the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.
Provision of agricultural commodities
Section 202(h) of the Food for Peace Act (7 U.S.C. 1722(h)) is amended by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:
The Administrator shall use funds made available in fiscal year 2012 and subsequent fiscal years to carry out this title to improve the nutritional quality of United States food assistance, particularly for vulnerable groups such as pregnant and lactating mothers, children under the age of five, with a focus on the cost-effective 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2, when appropriate, and beneficiaries under the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief in Africa (PEPFAR), including by—
adopting new specifications or improving existing specifications for micronutrient fortified food aid products, based on the latest developments in food and nutrition science;
strengthening necessary systems to better assess the types and quality of agricultural commodities and products donated for food assistance;
adjusting products and formulations, including potential introduction of new fortificants and products, as necessary to cost effectively meet nutrient needs of target populations;
developing new program guidance to facilitate improved matching of products to purposes having nutritional intent, including an updated commodity reference guide and decision tools;
developing enhanced guidance, in coordination with the Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally and PEPFAR, to support the allocation of food commodities and products for nutrition support in HIV programming, using standardized indicators of impact;
providing improved guidance to implementing partners on how to address nutritional deficiencies that emerge among recipients for whom food assistance is the sole source of diet in emergency programs that extend beyond one year;
considering options for using United States-produced food fortification packages, including vitamin and mineral mixes, to fortify local foods in recipient countries, as appropriate; and
evaluating, in appropriate program settings and as necessary, the performance and cost-effectiveness of new or modified specialized food products and program approaches designed to meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable groups.
Food Aid Consultative Group
Section 205(b) of the Food for Peace Act (7 U.S.C. 1725(b)) is amended—
in paragraph (6),
and at the end;
in paragraph (7),
by striking the period and inserting
; and; and
by adding at the end the following:
nutrition science experts from academia and nongovernmental organizations.
Coordination and oversight
Section 205 of the Food for Peace Act (7 U.S.C. 1725) is amended—
by redesignating subsections (d), (e), and (f) as subsections (e), (f), and (g), respectively; and
by inserting after subsection (c) the following:
Coordination and oversight
The Administrator shall work within the Group to take the actions described in paragraph (2) to increase coordination and oversight of food assistance programs established and implemented under this Act, with a primary focus on improving quality control and cost effectiveness.
The actions referred to in paragraph (1) are the following:
Explore and test options for improved packaging and storage of products to improve shelf life, promote recommended usage by intended beneficiaries, and oversee field-testing of products.
Work closely with the Department of Agriculture, to undertake reforms in commodity acquisition and supply chain management, drawing on best commercial practices for vendor selection, quality assurance standards, overall management of the supply chain, and auditing of food aid commodity suppliers.
Develop mechanisms and partnerships to facilitate more private sector development and innovation in food aid products, packaging, and delivery in order to improve the cost-effectiveness, nutritional quality, and overall acceptability of the product.
Provide guidance to implementing partners on whether and how best to use food aid commodities, such as new specialized food products, including guidance on targeting strategies to ensure that the products reach their intended recipients.
As appropriate, work to strengthen monitoring of commodity quality by identifying and tracking key quality indicators to determine the full extent of quality problems, including emerging concerns.
Establish processes and system-wide protocols for effective monitoring and evaluation of impact, to inform improved program design and address improving cost-effectiveness.
Strategy and report
The Administrator shall ensure that any United States Government strategy relating to global food security includes a description of how food assistance programs carried out under the Food for Peace Act will contribute to, and be integrated with, such strategy.
The Administrator shall ensure that comprehensive information regarding budgets and expenditures, monitoring and evaluation, policy, and coordination of food assistance programs carried out under the Food for Peace Act is included, as appropriate, in relevant reports submitted to Congress pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs.
In this Act:
the Administrator of the United States Agency for International
Appropriate congressional committees
congressional committees means—
the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and
the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.
Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to authorize the appropriation of amounts to carry out this Act or any amendment made by this Act.