NAMA Asks Congress for Food Aid FundingDecember 17, 2002
CONTACT: T.J. Cantwell, Coordinator of Technical & Export Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 17, 2002 – The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) met with officials in Congress and the Administration, asking them for food aid funding. The push for funding comes after the inability of Congress to pass a budget for fiscal year 2003 caused severe budgeting problems for PL480 Title II food aid programs which are administered by the Office of Food for Peace (FFP).
“The budget problems at the Office of Food for Peace could not have occurred at a worse time,” stated John Gillcrist, NAMA Chairman. “With the discontinued use of the 416(b) surplus disposal program, an increase in commodity prices between 20 and 40 percent, as well as the development of unanticipated food crises in Southern and Eastern Africa, this is a time when U.S. food aid needs to be increased, not constrained by budget concerns.”
NAMA emphasized that the budget constraints are causing FFP to reduce the amount of commodities procured for successful development programs in order to address as many emergencies as possible. “The decisions that FFP is having to make now will have a negative impact on the amount of nutritious fortified and blended foods that are procured in the short-term and on the costs of all commodities and ocean freight at the end of this fiscal year,” according to Chairman Gillcrist.
FFP is operating under a smaller budget based on a pro rata portion of the fiscal year 2002 budget ($850 million) instead of the Administration proposed fiscal year 2003 budget ($1.185 billion). While receiving verbal support, NAMA will continue to push for quick passage of the fiscal year 2003 appropriations bills at the higher levels ($1.2 billion) and possibly a supplemental appropriations bill to provide funding for the unanticipated Africa emergencies.
Mr. Gillcrist of Bartlett Milling Company was joined by NAMA board member, John Didion, Didion Milling, in representing the association. NAMA has 45 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states and 150 cities. Its membership represents about 90% of the total U.S. capacity.
For background information on NAMA click here.