BIDEN Issues Statement on President Bush's Food Aid Request
BIDEN to Hold Hearing on World Food Crisis in May
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement today on President Bush's request for Congress to approve $770 million in additional funding for global food aid:
"The recent crisis in food prices presents a grave humanitarian risk for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide subsisting on less than a dollar a day. It is our moral obligation to respond. The crisis also presents a grave security threat for nations such as, Haiti, Egypt, and Bangladesh, where limited food supplies have resulted in riots. When peace and stability fail in these nations, our own security is at risk.
"The humanitarian challenges we face in the 21st century - shortages of energy, water and food - are also security challenges that require a long-term solutions. While the President's request is an important first step, we need a comprehensive strategy to solve this crisis. America has the opportunity here to strengthen international institutions, assist partners in need and restore its moral leadership in the world.
"Economic growth in the last decade has meant today hundreds of millions of people can afford a more adequate diet. Unfortunately, the rise in demand has overwhelmed the existing supply.
"We have not kept our eye on the ball. Over the last 20 years international donors have systematically underinvested in agriculture. Farm and agriculture productivity in the developing world have not kept pace. Now we face what the United Nations calls a perfect storm' of problems. We need to be smarter this time around and complement emergency responses with long-term solutions. This month, I will hold a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the global food crisis to better define the problem and find solutions.
"To begin, we should support efforts like the World Bank's New Deal for Global Food Policy' and go further to initiate a second Green Revolution. We must also reinvest in agricultural research, rural infrastructure and market access for small farmers. And, we must work together with other countries to remove trade barriers and implement progressive agricultural policies."