Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 51
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The Food For Peace program has been accused of being not only a
political tool or weapon in foreign countries, but also here in the
United States as well. Bard (1972) notes that because it was used for
surplus disposal of domestic agricultural commodities, it had signifi-
cant political and eocnomic impact in the United States. He says:
A good case may be made for the proposition that United
States food aid programs have reduced domestic opposi-
tion to existing farm programs and the highly controlled
agricultural trade that must result from national agri-
cultural support policies that raise domestic prices above
international levels. ...without the outlet provided by
food aid, this country would have been forced to make
fundamental changes in an essentially irrational farm
policy. (Bard 1972: 48-49)
As noted here, then, PL-480 is very beneficial, as a domestic policy,
in that it provides a "market" for surplus agricultural commodities
of U. S. farmers; that market being the United States government.
Since the primary interest of this study is the socioeconomic
and political consequences of food aid on underdeveloped nations,
therefore, of greater concern are the criticisms leveled at Food For
Peace with respect to its effect(s) internationally. In general,
these criticisms are valid, but one major problem with them is that
they do not distinguish between Title I and II. They fail to point
out that the political nature of PL-480 is essentially limited to
Title I, since Title II food is donated to and distributed by non-
committed private volunteer organizations. Also, with respect to the
more recent restrictions placed on Title I assistance by the 1975 and
1977 amendments, this powerful political weapon has been weakened.
However, the ultimate decision either to appropriate food or not,
based on the political ideology of the recipient, is perhaps the
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/64/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.